WASHINGTON — The Washington Post has been sold to Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeffrey Bezos.
The Washington Post Co. announced in a release Monday it had signed a contract to sell its newspaper publishing business to Bezos individually, and not to Amazon.com, Inc.
The purchase price was $250 million.
The sale covers the Washington Post newspaper and its other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, the Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.
Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy are not part of the transaction. They will remain with the Washington Post Company, as will WaPo Labs, SocialCode businesses, interest in Classified Ventures and certain real estate assets, including the newspaper’s headquarters in downtown D.C.
“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,” said Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company.
Graham continued, saying the company believed Bezos’ proven technology and business acumen and his “personal decency” make him uniquely qualified to be the new owner.
Bezos said in the release, “I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change. Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.”
The company says Bezos has asked Katherine Weymouth, CEO and publisher of the newspaper, Martin Baron, president and general manager and Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor, to continue in their roles.
Added, Weymouth says she has asked the entire senior management team at all of the affected businesses to continue in their positions.
The Washington Post Co., which also owns Kaplan, Post-Newsweek Stations and Cable ONE, will be changing its name. No new name has been announced, the release says.
According to Forbes Magazine, Bezos’ net worth is estimated at $25.2 billion. The 49-year-old is ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ world billionaires list, and No. 12 in the U.S. He is married with four children and lives in Seattle.
Forbes ranks Bezos as the 27th most powerful person in the world.
His self-started company Amazon.com is the world’s largest internet retailer of any kind, Forbes says. It reports more than $61 billion in 2012 sales, which Forbes says is up $13 billion from 2011.
Some Washington Post staffers reacted to the surprising news on Twitter.