Feeds

Amazon founder Bezos snaps up Washington Post

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

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?