The Washington Post newspaper is being sold by the Graham family to Jeff Bezos. For $250 million. See article here.
This is a very smart transaction. Jeff Bezos is one of the best businessmen in the world and one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. He will be a fantastic steward of this media property and will run it as a private - for the public good - enterprise. It won't be a public company, and I am sure it will be refocused as a digital, high integrity media property with great journalism and production at its core. This is almost a charitable act on Jeff Bezos's behalf. It is a great act of courage and philanthropy by him.
The Graham family are to be applauded for this sale as it allows the paper to be invested in and transformed outside of the harsh light of Wall Street demands on a quarterly basis. The Graham family and Don Graham personally have created one of the world's greatest media properties, and this is a smart trade and a necessary one for the future of the publication. The Graham family will still lead The Washington Post Company - with TV stations, software businesses, educational assets - it is only selling off its newspapers.
This sale follows on the heels of the sale of the Boston Globe to John Henry for $70 million. Two major metro newspapers get sold - for minimal dollars - all in the same week. The times they certainly are changing.
This is stunning news. But on reflection, quite good news for people in DC as we will continue to have a great public trust in The Washington Post. It will be managed as a utility and a public trust by a private citizen instead of as a media property within a public company.
This assures the future of The Washington Post as a journalistic enterprise, and Don Graham and Jeff Bezos - both giants and great men - did the right thing in the right way.