Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post for $250 million

WASHINGTON Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is buying The Washington Post and other newspapers for $250 million.

The longtime publisher, The Washington Post Co., announced the deal Monday. Bezos is buying the paper as an individual. Amazon.com Inc. is not involved.

Washington Post chairman and CEO Donald Graham called Bezos a "uniquely good new owner." He said the decision was made after years of newspaper industry challenges. The company, which owns the Kaplan education business and several TV stations, will change its name but didn't say what the new name will be.

"Everyone at the Post Company and everyone in our family has always been proud of The Washington Post -- of the newspaper we publish and of the people who write and produce it," said Donald E. Graham, Chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company. "I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post (after a transaction that would be in the best interest of our shareholders). Jeff Bezos' proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post."

"I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post's values will not change," said Mr. Bezos. "Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future."

According to the press release by the Washington Post Co., Bezos asked Katharine Weymouth, CEO and Publisher of The Washington Post; Stephen P. Hills, President and General Manager; Martin Baron, Executive Editor; and Fred Hiatt, Editor of the Editorial Page to continue in those roles.

The transaction covers The Washington Post and other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing, the company said.

Excluded from the transaction: Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy. The WaPo Labs and SocialCode businesses, as well as the Company's interest in Classified Ventures and certain real estate assets, including the headquarters building in downtown Washington, DC are also excluded. The Washington Post Company also owns Kaplan, Post-Newsweek Stations and Cable ONE.

The news comes after the New York Times announced it is selling The Boston Globe and other New England newspapers to a local investor for $70 million, after buying the paper for more than $1 billion in 1993. Investors greeted today's news with jubilation: Washington Post Company stock surged more than 5 percent in after hours trading.

The Washington Post Co. will be changing its name in connection with the transaction. It didn't announce a new name.

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