Amazon.com Founder to Buy The Washington Post

The Washington Post, the venerable newspaper whose reporting ended a presidency and inspired a generation of journalists, is being sold to the founder of Amazon.com, Jeffrey P Bezos, in a surprise deal that has shocked the industry.

Donald E Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Company, told the newspaper’s staff about the sale late Monday afternoon. They had gathered together in the newspaper’s auditorium at the behest of the publisher, Katharine Weymouth.

I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post (after a transaction that would be in the best interest of our shareholders), Mr Graham said.

The announcement stressed that Mr Bezos would purchase The Post in a personal capacity, and not on behalf of Amazon, the Internet retailer. The deal includes all of the publishing businesses owned by The Washington Post Company, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.

The Washington Post company plans to hold onto Slate magazine, The Root.com and Foreign Policy. According to the release, Mr Bezos has asked Ms. Weymouth to remain at The Post along with Stephen P Hills, president and general manager; Martin Baron, executive editor; and Fred Hiatt, editor of the editorial page — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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