If Hell froze over, pigs took wing, sheep fell from the sky, and snow blanketed Hawaii, it still wouldn’t be as astonishing as Monday’s announcement that the storied Graham family is selling The Washington Post to a billionaire online-retailing entrepreneur.
Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeffrey Bezos, whose net worth has been estimated at $28 billion, has agreed to pay $250 million in cash to take possession of the 136-year-old newspaper and several related media properties within 60 days. Bezos’s acquisition is personal, not corporate, so The Post will once again be a private entity—something it hasn’t been since the Grahams took the company public in 1971. In one of the more jarring aspects of the deal, the newspaper’s longtime parent company will be required to change its name (though it will keep its downtown Washington headquarters and several other real-estate holdings).
“It’s very sad,” said Post associate editor Bob Woodward, who, along with his partner Carl Bernstein under the leadership of executive editor Ben Bradlee, led the Post to a Pulitzer Prize for their investigation of Richard Nixon’s crime-ridden White House. “But if there’s somebody who can succeed, it’s Bezos. He’s the innovator, he’s got the money and the patience, so we’ll see. I think in some ways, this may be the Post’s last chance to survive, at least in some form of what it was.”
Woodward’s bittersweet reaction was typical of Post veterans, who were at once grief-stricken at the prospect of losing the Grahams as owners and hopeful that Bezos will find a way to save their jobs.
Read More at The Daily Beast . By Lloyd Grove.
Photo Credit: kieran mccarthy (Creative Commons)