Inside the Washington Post Sale to Amazon's Jeff Bezos

The Amazon founder is paying $250 million in cash for the newspaper.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite personal devices on Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is paying $250 million for the Washington Post, though Amazon will not own any part of the Post.

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Late Monday, the Washington Post announced that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos would purchase the legendary newspaper for $250 million from the Washington Post Company.

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Though the ownership change surprised many, Bezos reassured employees that he will be true to the paper's reporting tradition.

"The values of The Post do not need changing," Bezos wrote to employees in a letter released Monday afternoon, though he also spoke of future changes as inevitable and necessary.

"The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs," he wrote.


Donald Graham, CEO of the Washington Post Company, said that selling the Post was an unthinkable proposition before Bezos made his offer. He said that his family members all "started out with the same emotion – shock," in considering selling the paper, the Post reported on Monday.

"But when the idea of a transaction with Jeff Bezos came up, it altered my feelings," he added.

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For a quick primer on the purchase, here's a rundown of the numbers behind the quarter-billion-dollar deal:


How much Amazon will own of the Post. In a press release, the Post stressed that "[t]he purchaser is an entity that belongs to Mr. Bezos in his individual capacity and is not, Inc."

3.6 Times

How much more the Post sold for than the Boston Globe, which the New York Times Company over the weekend agreed to sell to Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry.


The number of people employed at the Post. According to a Post story on the purchase, no layoffs are currently expected as part of the deal.

44 percent

The decline in operating revenue the Post has posted over the last six years, according to the Post story on the Bezos deal.

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447,700 and 646,700

The respective average daily and Sunday circulations at the Post for the six months ending June 30, according to the Washington Post Company's latest earnings report. Those represent 7.1 percent and 7.6 percent declines, respectively, over the same period in 2012.

1 Percent

How much of Jeff Bezos' net worth $250 million represents. According to Forbes, Bezos has a net worth of $25.2 billion, making him the 19th richest person in the world.

13.5 Percent

The share of the Washington Post Company's second-quarter revenues generated by newspaper publishing. The Post is just one small part of the Washington Post Company's broader empire that includes other news sites (including Slate and Foreign Policy), television broadcasting, and educational services.

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