Jeff Bezos Buys Washington Post for $250 Million

Jeff Bezos Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is adding another hat to his vast collection, newspaper publishing. The New York Times reported that Mr. Bezos has purchased The Washington Post for US$250 million in a deal that brings with it several other newspaper properties.

The purchase is being made by Jeff Bezos himself, rather than under the umbrella of Amazon. It's not clear what role, if any, Mr. Bezos will have in day to day operations of the company, but Mr. Bezos has already asked Katherine Weymouth to remain at the newspaper as publisher.

Other top executives staying in their jobs include Stephen P. Hills, president and general manager; Martin Baron, executive editor; and Fred Hiatt, editor of the editorial page.

The deal includes the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing, all companies owned by The Washington Post Company.

Not included in the deal are Slate magazine, and Foreign Policy magazine. The Washington Post Company has not announced its plans for those properties.

The newspaper industry is an industry in crisis. Local papers and national newspapers alike have found it difficult to transition to the age of the Internet, where online ad revenue doesn't match print ad revenue of days gone by.

But money is one thing that Jeff Bezos has in spades. It's difficult to imagine that Mr. Bezos bought The Post because he thinks he can make a ton of money on it, but he has shown again and again that he knows how to think differently about all facets of business.

If can breathe new life into a newspaper as important as The Post, which plays a vital role in covering national politics, it will be a great thing for all of us. Here's hoping he can.