Which Computer Mastermind Bought The Washington Post In 2013 For $250 Million In Cash?
The editor who has been in command of The Washington Post newsroom since Jeff Bezos acquired it will step down at the end of the month. In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Post Executive Editor Marty Baron discusses working with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, what happened at the paper under Bezos, and more.
In August 2013, Bezos paid $250 million for the Post. At the time, the decision stunned media and technology observers who saw newspapers as a dying industry and Bezos as someone who was interested in everything but.
Just a year before his acquisition, Bezos told the German daily Berliner-Zeitung that he was convinced of one thing: "There will be no printed newspapers in 20 years." Perhaps as luxury products at some hotels that wish to provide them as a high-end service. Printed papers will be obsolete in 20 years."
Jeff Bezos was born on January 12, 1964, in Seattle, Washington, to Jacklyn Gise and Ted Jorgensen. His mother's grandparents were Texas pioneers who had amassed a 25,000-acre ranch in Cotulla through the years.
Jeff Bezos is an American entrepreneur and the creator of the e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com. He was adopted by Miguel Bezos, a Cuban immigrant when his mother married him. He was born to Jacklyn Gise and Ted Jorgensen. He spent his summers as a boy on his grandfather's Texas ranch building pipes, vaccinating livestock, and repairing windmills.
He graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High School and earned his B.Sc. Princeton University awarded him a summa cum Laude degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He worked on Wall Street for firms including Fitel, Bankers Trust, and D. New York: E. Shaw & Co.
He was the company's youngest Vice President. E. Shaw and Co. Despite his achievements, he opted to leave the finance industry. He established Amazon.com, an online bookstore, and eventually added services including one-click buying, user reviews, and e-mail order verification.
He extended it to include clothing, CDs, toys, jewelry, watches, gadgets, and shoes, among other things. He is continually upgrading his website and adding new features for his consumers.
His boyhood ambition of space flight inspired the creation of Blue Origin, an aerospace business that is researching technology to provide clients with access to space travel. Bezos is one of the world's wealthiest persons, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with an estimated net worth of $28 billion.
Bezos will pay $250 million in cash for the newspaper, according to the firm, which is a little more than pocket change for the world's third-richest billionaire. (In a perhaps related occurrence, Bezos just made around $186 million in cash from the sale of Amazon stock.)
The transaction has nothing to do with Amazon, which is Bezos' primary source of income. According to the article, the transaction should be finalized within the next 60 days. After the deal is completed, the Washington Post will adopt a new name but will remain publicly traded. Notably absent from the transaction are Foreign Policy magazine, Slate.com, Root.com, and the WaPo Labs digital-development business.
“I don’t want to imply that I have a worked-out plan. This will be uncharted terrain and it will require experimentation,” Bezos told the Post. “But the key thing I hope people will take away from this is that the values of The Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.”
With a 136-year tradition of breaking major political news, The Washington Post is one of the country's most renowned media. It is possibly most remembered for breaking the news of the Watergate affair in 1974, which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation. (There's even a movie about it called All The President's Men, which is pretty much mandatory watching for anyone going to college for a journalism degree.) In recent years, though, it's grown increasingly difficult for the newspaper industry to stay successful, whether at the Post or anyplace else.
"Every member of my family started out with the same emotion—shock—in even thinking about selling The Post," Washington Post CEO Donald Graham (also a Facebook board member) told the publication. "But when the idea of a transaction with Jeff Bezos came up, it altered my feelings. The Post could have survived under the company’s ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future. But we wanted to do more than survive. I’m not saying this guarantees success but it gives us a much greater chance of success."
According to the Post, the Graham family, who had owned the publication for the previous 80 years, contacted a "half dozen" possible purchasers before choosing on Bezos.
This isn't Bezos's first foray into the media industry. He spent $5 million in the tech news network Business Insider in April, a magazine with a significantly different editorial bent than the Washington Post. And, while the news/media sector isn't exactly a money-making machine these days, it's a nice fit for Bezos, who has previously stated that he prefers long-term thinking above short-term earnings. (For instance, look at Amazon's quarterly profit reports.)
Wealth. Bezos became a millionaire for the first time in 1997 when he raised $54 million through Amazon's first public offering (IPO). He was included to the Forbes World's Billionaires list for the first time in 1999, with a recorded net worth of $10.1 billion. A year later, his net worth had dropped by 40.5 percent to $6.1 billion.
This equates to $6.25 billion each month, $1.44 billion per week, $205 million per day, $8.56 million per hour, and $142,667 per minute. As a result, Mr. Bezos' personal fortune may have climbed by $1.57 million during the 11-minute Blue Origin journey.