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US: Amazon’s Bezos to buy Washington Post for USD 250 million

6th Aug 2013

WASHINGTON, (Xinhua): The Washington Post Co. announced on Monday that it has agreed to sell its flagship newspaper to Jeff Bezos,founder and chief executive of Amazon.com, ending the Graham family’s control of one of the leading news organizations in the United States after four generations.

According to the Washington Post, Bezos will pay 250 million U. S. dollars in cash for the Washington Post and affiliated publications to the Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses.

Seattle-based Amazon will have no role in the purchase. Bezos himself will buy the news organization and become its sole owner when the sale is completed, probably within 60 days. The Washington Post Co. will change to a new, still-undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without The Washington Post thereafter.

“The Post could have survived under the company’s ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future. But we wanted to do more than survive. I’m not saying this guarantees success but it gives us a much greater chance of success,” said Donald Graham, the Washington Post Co.’s chief executive.

For much of the past decade, the Washington Post has been unable to escape the financial turmoil that has engulfed newspapers. The rise of the Internet and the epochal change from print to digital technology have created a massive wave of competition for traditional news companies, scattering readers and advertisers across a radically altered news and information landscape and triggering mergers, bankruptcies and consolidation among the owners of print and broadcasting properties, according to a report by The Washington Post on Monday.

The Washington Post Co.’s newspaper division, of which the Washington Post newspaper is the most prominent part, has suffered a 44 percent decline in operating revenue over the past six years. Print circulation has dwindled, too, falling another 7 percent daily and Sundays during the first half of this year.

Ultimately, the paper’s financial challenges prompted the company’s board to consider a sale.

According to a report by the paper, Graham hired investment firm Allen & Co. to shop the paper. Allen’s representatives spoke with a half-dozen potential suitors before the board settled on Bezos, 49, a legendary tech innovator who has never operated a newspaper.

In a statement to the employees of the Washington Post, Bezos noted that “the values of The Post do not need changing,” and the newspaper’s duty will “remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners.”

But he added that there will be changes at the paper over the coming years with or without new ownership as “the Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business.”

“I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention,” said the Internet retail mogul.

Bezos said he will not be leading The Washington Post day-to-day and the leadership team of the paper has agreed to stay on.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-08/06/c_132605819.htm

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