Dear Commons Community,
Coming on the heels of the sale of the Boston Globe to Red Sox owner, John Henry, The Washington Post was sold yesterday to Jeffrey Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com. As reported in the New York Times:
“Donald E. Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Company, and the third generation of the Graham family to lead the paper, told the staff about the sale late Monday afternoon. They had gathered together in the newspaper’s auditorium at the behest of the publisher, Katharine Weymouth, his niece.
“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 (after a transaction that would be in the best interest of our shareholders),” Mr. Graham said in a written statement.
In the auditorium, he closed his remarks by saying that nobody in the room should be sad — except, he said, “for me.”
The announcement was greeted by what many staff members described as “shock,” a reaction shared in newsrooms across the country as one of the crown jewels of newspapers was surrendered by one of the industry’s royal families…
Mr. Graham stressed that Mr. Bezos would purchase The Post in a personal capacity and not on behalf of Amazon the company. The $250 million deal includes all of the publishing businesses owned by The Washington Post Company, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.”
It wasn’t clear what would happen to Kaplan, Inc. (see note below) Kaplan was among those hardest hit when the Education Department put out new regulations on for-profit colleges in 2011. Kaplan reported an operating loss of $105 million in 2012, compared to income of about $96 million in 2011.
NOTE: After making the above post, it was reported that Kaplan, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including Kaplan Higher Education and its mostly online Kaplan University, will remain part of the publicly traded Washington Post Company and will continue operating largely as they were before the sale of the newspaper, said Rima Calderon, a spokeswoman for the Post Company. The parent company will also continue, though under a new, still unspecified name.