How's this for perspective? A two-year old startup by the name of Instagram
sold to Facebook
for $1 billion. A newspaper housed in a nation's capitol city, which has been around over a century, has just sold for one quarter of that. It's a strange, wild, and completely digital world that we're living in today, which may help explain why the founder of Amazon has paid $250 million in cash for The Washington Post. It's important to note that Amazon isn't buying the paper, but Bezos himself. Moreover, this isn't the first time Bezos has invested in the news business; he has also invested in the Business Insider website.
The transfer is expected to be completed within two months, making Bezos the sole owner. The Post Co. will get a new name, and it will continue "as a publicly traded company without The Post." Its current owners have stated that Bezos simply won with the highest bid, and noted that while it has innovated over the past seven years, revenues have continued to decline. In a way, it sounds as if the Graham family has thrown their hands up, frustrated with their inability to turn around a business that is declining the world over. And we can't say we blame them for washing their hands of it.
Stock Kindle imagery used to highlight The New York Times...
It's unclear what Bezos plans to do with the paper, but he had made clear that a) it will not swing to his own political interests and b) that he won't run the day-to-day operations. Instead, he may seek to integrate it with Amazon's ecosystem in some way. Amazon has made some impressive moves in both the hardware and ecosystem realms, and having this kind of ace in the hole could mean big things ahead for Kindle.