Surprising news has rocked the media industry today, with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchasing The Washington Post newspaper and other affiliated publications for $250 million. The Washington Post Company, which previously owned the paper, will continue to trade publicly after ownership is transferred to Bezos, although a new name will be chosen to reflect how it's now Post-less.
Amazon itself will have no role in the purchase, with Bezos using his personal investment firm, Explore Holdings LLC, to buy the publication and become its sole owner; the sale will likely complete within 60 days.
Previously the newspaper was owned by the Graham family, with Donald Graham sitting as chief executive at The Washington Post Company. Graham said that "every member of my family" started out being shocked at the idea of selling the publication, “but when the idea of a transaction with Jeff Bezos came up, it altered my feelings.”
Graham goes on to say that while The Post could have survived under his company, selling the paper to Bezos gives it a "much greater chance of success". Bezos himself called the paper an "important institution", and said that although he doesn't have a "worked-out plan" for The Post, he's positive about its future.
In the second quarter of 2013, The Washington Post reported an operating loss of $14.8 million, so it may take time for the $250 million investment to bring a net profit. Bezos will be taking the publication private as a result of the deal, meaning he will not have to report earnings to shareholders.