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article imageAmazon's Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post for $250 million

By Brett Wilkins     Aug 6, 2013 in Business
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of online commerce giant Amazon.com, is buying one of the nation's most venerable newspapers.
The Washington Post reports it is being purchased by Bezos for $250 million. The purchase marks the end of the Graham family's ownership of the Post, an era that spanned four generations.
Bezos, who became one of the richest men on earth by building Amazon.com from an Internet bookstore into the world's leading online retailer, with a market cap of $119 billion, will reportedly pay cash for the Post. Amazon, which is based in Seattle, will play no part in the deal. The Washington Post Co. will be renamed and carry on as a publicly traded corporation without the newspaper. The sale is expected to be completed within the next two months.
"There will of course be change at the Post over the coming years," Bezos wrote to Post Co. employees. "The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."
It is unclear in what direction Bezos will take the Post.
"This will be uncharted terrain," he wrote.
"I won't be leading the Washington Post day-to-day," Bezos wrote to the paper's employees. "I am happily living in 'the other Washington' where I have a day job that I love. Besides that, the Post already has an excellent leadership team that knows much more about the news business than I do, and I'm extremely grateful to them for agreeing to stay on."
Bezos, who is worth an estimated $28 billion, is the second billionaire to buy a premier US newspaper in recent days. The New York Times Co. sold the Boston Globe to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million on Saturday.
Amazon.com was started by Bezos in 1995 in his Seattle garage. The company was a success from it inception, filling orders in every state and 45 foreign countries in its first month of operation. Amazon went public in 1997, but it wasn't until Bezos expanded the company's business model and started selling music, toys and consumer electronics that it reached profitability. Today, Amazon is the world's largest online retailer.
Bezos was named Time's 'Person of the Year' in 1999.
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