The Washington Post Co. announced Tuesday that it has completed the sale of the newspaper to the founder and chairman of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos. It ended the 80 years of local control of the newspaper by the Graham family. The deal was first made public in early August. Bezos paid $250 million in cash for the paper and gained control of the publication that has been owned by four generations of the Graham family.
Bezos bought the paper as an individual and not as part of Amazon. With the purchase, he also acquired other properties in the Washington area, including The Gazette newspapers, the Express newspaper, Fairfax County Times, Southern Maryland Newspapers, and El Tiempo Latino.
Slate magazine, Foreign Policy and The Root are not part of the deal. The titles remained with The Washington Post Co. The company will change its name.
Katharine Weymouth, niece of Washington Post CEO Don Graham, is the current publisher of the paper. She will retain her job.
Shares of Washington Post Co. increased 2.8 percent on Tuesday to close at $628.54. Revenue of the company’s newspaper publishing unit dropped 2 percent in the first half of the year from the previous year to $265.7 million.
Print advertising revenue dropped 6 percent. The average daily circulation at The Washington Post during the period was 447,700.
When the deal was first announced in August, Graham said that everyone at the Post Co. is proud of The Washington Post. He said that they decided to sell only after years of challenges that made them whether another owner would be better for the paper. He added that Jeff Bezos’ business genius and technology made him a good new owner for the Post. Graham also praised Bezos’ long term approach and personal decency.
Bezos pledged to continue the Washington Post’s long history of independent journalism. He hasn’t released plans or changes he will make to save the paper from its financial problems.