Feeds

Amazon founder Bezos snaps up Washington Post

Citizen Kane 2.0 forks out $250 million for loss-making bauble

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Along with funding the creation of a clock that will run for 10,000 years, recovering the rockets from the first moon mission, and trying to shake up the commercial space industry, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos today put his dosh into another tricky, long-term enterprise: a print newspaper.

The $250m cash acquisition for The Washington Post, affiliated publications, and some 2,000 employees was announced on Monday, and represents a massive bargain when compared with the $1bn Facebook paid for photo-spaffing app Instagram and its staff of 13 young employees.

The deal sees Bezos himself – not Amazon – putting his dosh into the troubled publication group. The Washington Post Company's newspaper division has had a 44 percent decline in revenue in the past six years and lost $39m in 2012, according to a WaPo article on the buy.

"I don't want to imply that I have a worked-out plan," Bezos said. "This will be uncharted terrain and it will require experimentation."

No layoffs are "contemplated," and Katharine Weymouth will remain as publisher and chief executive, and exec editor Martin Baron will continue on as well.

Taking on a loss-making business will be familiar to Bezos: Amazon lost $7m in its most recent quarter, and expects to lose far more next time around. Investors aren't troubled because there's evidence that all the money that could be realized as profits is instead being poured back into the business to fund future expansion.

But e-retail and print media are very different businesses, and where one is an immature market that rewards Davids that want to be Goliaths, the other is a mature ecosystem in which all the giants are growing old and ceding ground to younger, leaner competitors – like online-only El Reg, for example.

The sale did not involve Slate.com, Root.com, or Foreign Policy magazine, but did involve several regional newspapers, the Robinsomn Terminal production plant, and the Comprint printing operation, alongside The Washington Post.

"There will of course be change at The Post over the coming years," Bezos said in a letter addressed to the newspaper's employees. That's essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. 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." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.