Donald Graham, the post Co. Chairman and also chief executive, describes why he come to believe Amazon founder Jeff Bezos offers the short article the finest chance to flourish after 80 years of Graham family members ownership. (The Washington Post)
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The Washington post Co. Agreed Monday to market its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder and also chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, finishing the Graham family’s stewardship of among America’s top news organizations after 4 generations.

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Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him among the world’s richest men, will certainly pay $250 million in cash for The Post and also affiliated publication to The Washington short article Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses.

Seattle-based Amazon will have actually no role in the purchase; Bezos himself will buy the news organization and also become its single owner when the revenue is completed, probably within 60 days. The article Co. Will acquire a new, still undecided name and also continue together a publicly traded company without the newspaper.

The transaction represents a sudden and stunning revolve of occasions for The Post, Washington’s top newspaper for decades and also a powerful force in shaping the country politics and policy. Few people were conscious that a sale was in the works for the paper, an institution that has covered presidents and local communities and also gained an international attention for its stories around the Watergate scandal and, in June, disclosures around National Security company surveillance programs.

article Co. Chairman and chief executive, management Donald E. Graham and also Post publisher Katharine Weymouth, his niece, broke the news the the sale to a packed meeting of employees in ~ the company’s headquarters in downtown Washington top top Monday. The mood to be hushed; number of veteran employees cried as Graham and also Weymouth take it turns analysis statements and answering questions. “Everyone who remained in that room knows just how much Don and Katharine love the record and how difficult this must have been because that them,” said David Ignatius, a veteran short article columnist that was visibly relocated after the meeting.


Timeline


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But for much of the previous decade, The post has to be unable come escape the financial chaos that has actually engulfed newspapers and also other “legacy” media organizations. The rise of the Internet and the epochal change from publish to digital modern technology have developed a substantial wave of compete for timeless news companies, scattering readers and also advertisers across a radically changed news and information landscape and triggering mergers, bankruptcies and consolidation amongst the owner of print and broadcasting properties.

“Every member that my household started out through the very same emotion — shock — in also thinking about” selling The Post, Graham said in an interview Monday. “But once the idea that a trans­action with Jeff Bezos come up, it changed my feelings.”

He added: “The write-up could have actually survived under the company’s ownership and also been profitable for the foreseeable future. Yet we wanted to do an ext than survive. I’m not saying this promises success, yet it gives us a much greater chance the success.”

Bezos, 49, will certainly take the firm private, definition he will not need to report quarterly income to shareholder or be based on investors’ demands for ever-rising profits, as the publicly traded Washington article Co. Is obligated to perform now. Together such, the will be able to experiment through the document without the press of showing an instant return on any type of investment. Indeed, Bezos’s background of patience investment and long-term strategic thinking made the an attractive buyer, Weymouth said.

The Washington short article Co.’s newspaper division, of i m sorry the article newspaper is the most prominent part, has actually suffered a 44 percent decrease in operating revenue end the previous six years. Return The short article is among the most popular news sources online, publish circulation has actually dwindled, falling an additional 7 percent daily and also on Sundays throughout the an initial half of this year.


Ultimately, the paper’s financial challenges prompted the company’s board to think about a sale, a step once regarded together unthinkable by insiders and also the Graham family.


Seeking a buyer

With particularly secrecy, Graham rental the investment firm Allen & Co. To shop the paper, firm executives said. Graham claimed he think the firm an initial made call with Bezos in in march or April. Yet the communications damaged off for 2 months. Castle did no resume till mid-July, according to Graham, once Bezos contacted him; the two males met twice during a conference.

“At the finish of it he claimed he believed he want to go ahead,” Graham said, “but he — obviously, he and his team -- essential time to really look over the business and understand it much more thoroughly. And then he did, and we quickly reached a deal.”

Allen’s to represent spoke through a half-dozen potential suitors before The article Co.’s board worked out on Bezos, a legendary tech innovator who has never activate a newspaper.

Bezos, in one interview, referred to as The article “an essential institution” and also expressed optimism around its future. “I don’t desire to indicate that I have a worked-out plan,” that said. “This will certainly be uncharted terrain, and also it will require experimentation.”

“There would certainly be adjust with or without brand-new ownership,” he said. “But the vital thing ns hope human being will take away from this is that the worths of The post do not need changing. The duty of the record is to the readers, not the owners.”

Despite the end of the Graham family’s control of the newspaper after 80 years, Graham and also Bezos claimed management and also operations of the newspaper will proceed without disruption ~ the sale.

Weymouth — who represents the fourth generation of she family associated in the newspaper — will remain as publisher and also chief executive of the Bezos-owned Post; martin Baron will remain executive editor. No layoffs among the paper’s 2,000 employees room contemplated as a an outcome of the transaction, Bezos and also Graham said.

Bezos stated he will preserve his house in Seattle and also will delegate the paper’s daily operations to its present management. “I have a great day job that ns love,” the said.

In a keep in mind to write-up employees top top Monday, Weymouth wrote: “This is a day that my family and I never expected to come. The Washington Post agency is offering the newspaper that it has owned and nurtured because that eight decades. ”

The new owner of The write-up may it is in as much of a surprised as the decision to sell the file in the very first place.

Throughout his storied service career, Bezos, who has actually a net worth that $25.2 billion, has been realm builder, although he has never shown any kind of evident attention in the newspaper business. That has, however, maintained a lengthy friendship v Graham, and they have actually informally recommend each various other over the years. Graham, because that example, recommend Bezos about how to feature newspapers top top the Kindle, Amazon’s famous e-reader.

A computer-science and also ­electrical-engineering college student at Princeton University, Bezos provided his tech savvy to rise swiftly at a new York hedge-fund company, ending up being its youngest senior vice president.

He started Amazon at 30 with a $300,000 loan indigenous his parents, working out that the garage in his rented house in Bellevue, Wash. He referred to as his development Amazon in part to convey the breadth the its offerings; beforehand promotions dubbed the site “Earth’s biggest Bookstore.”

Since Amazon’s founding, Bezos has committed himself to building it into a retail behemoth that sells whatever from diapers come garden equipment to data storage at low prices with a click of a mouse. That rang increase $61 billion in sales last year.

In the process, Amazon has wreaked havoc on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Many retailers have expressed dismay and also resentment in ~ Amazon’s capacity to sell the same commodities at a reduced price, in part because the its efficiency but additionally because it was not collecting sales tax in most states.

For long periods, however, Bezos frustrated investor and analysts who wanted Amazon to revolve profits much more quickly or more regularly. Due to the fact that of heavy investments in warehouses and new businesses, Amazon did not supply a profit till the company’s nine year that operation, and also seven year after the started offering shares to the public.

At times, Bezos has actually been open minded disdainful of wall Street’s demands for larger quarterly profits. He told luck magazine critical year, “The three big ideas at Amazon are permanent thinking, customer obsession, and also willingness to invent.”

Under Bezos, the company’s drive into new businesses has been relentless. To supplement its line of Kindle readers and also tablets, for example, Bezos driven Amazon into book publishing itself, upsetting rivals such as Barnes & Noble and book agents alike. (Bezos is one avid newspaper reader; in enhancement to The Post, that said, the reads the brand-new York Times and the wall Street Journal.)

But Amazon’s breakneck development has additionally come v a couple of stumbles. Amongst other investments, Bezos bought a majority stake in Pets.com in 1999 and paid $60 million because that a section of Kozmo.com, a delivery service. Both suppliers went out of business. An effort to compete with eBay in online auctions was no successful.

As a result, an investment in Amazon comes v the likelihood that erratic revenue — and sometimes no earnings at all. The company lost $39 million critical year.

Ultimately, however, Amazon has rewarded patience believers. That is sales have increased virtually tenfold since 2004, and also its share price has actually quadrupled in the past 5 years. “We believe in the long term,” Bezos called Fortune, “but the lengthy term also has come come.”

Friends and competitors have described Bezos as cerebral, demanding, curious and also given come asking challenging questions. The shows small tolerance for those who space poorly prepared but can be charming and also quick to laugh. “If Jeff is unhappy, wait five minutes,” his wife has said the him.

Bezos’s personal ventures have also given little hint that any major interest in the news business. He began a private company called Blue origin in 2000 to build a space vehicle and also has gained land in west Texas together a rocket start site, both part of a lifelong enthusiasm for room travel. That is also reportedly security $42 million to build a clock inside a mountain in Texas that is draft to critical 10,000 year — a price of Bezos’s service philosophy of reasoning long-term.

In naming Bezos that is “Businessperson the the Year” in 2012, Fortune called him “the ultimate disrupter . . . has actually upended the book industry and displaced electronic merchants” while advertise into new businesses, such together TV and feature-film production.

His drive and also business creative thinking have earned that favorable comparisons to Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and a confidant of Don Graham and also his mother, Katharine Graham, who offered as write-up Co. Publisher, chairman and also chief executive. This year, the Harvard business Review ranked Bezos as the second-best-performing chief executive, management in the human being during the past decade, complying with only Jobs, who died in 2011.

In his announcement to employee Monday, Donald Graham quoted billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, a longtime torture to The short article Co., together calling Bezos “the ablest CEO in America.”

Bezos’s reputation and smarts made the attractive as a buyer of The Post, Weymouth claimed in an interview. “He’s every little thing we were searching for — a service leader v a track document of entrepreneurship who believes in our values and cares about journalism, and also someone that was ready to salary a fair price come our shareholders,” she said.

Weymouth said the decision to market The post sprang from yearly budget discussions she had actually with Graham late last year. “We talked about whether to be the right place to house The Post,” she said. “If journalism is the mission, provided the pressures to reduced costs and also make profits, probably is not the ideal place because that The Post.”

Any buyer, she said, “had come share ours values and also commitment to journalism or us wouldn’t offer it.”

The revenue to Bezos involves The Post and its net site (gendergeek.org), along with the refer newspaper, the Gazette Newspapers and Southern Maryland newspapers in suburban Washington, the Fairfax county Times, the Spanish-language newspaper El Tiempo Latino, and the Robinson Terminal production plant in Springfield. Bezos will likewise purchase the Comprint printing procedure in Gaithersburg, i beg your pardon produces several military publications.

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The transaction does not incorporate the this firm headquarters top top 15th Street NW (the building has been because that sale because February) or foreign Policy magazine, the internet sites Slate and the Root, the WaPo Labs digital breakthrough operation, or Post-owned land follow me the potomac River in Alexandria.