A Great Deal of Fun Can be Had for $250 Million
Post, a once great newspaper
has been run into the ground by the family that controls it, proving for the
umpteenth time that just because your parents and grandparents were smart does
not make you so. So the 4th generation
to own the Post and the first generation to destroy its economics has now sold
the paper to Amazon CEO and major shareholder Jeff Bezos. Washington
|Mr. Bezos with the hat, and Post CEO and Chairman Don Graham with the look on his|
face that says "I can't believe I sold this turkey for $250 million")
The Washington Post, the newspaper whose reporting helped topple a president and inspired a generation of journalists, is being sold for $250 million to the founder of Amazon.com, Jeffrey P. Bezos, in a deal that has shocked the industry.
The Post, of course, under the leadership of a third and fourth generation members of the Graham family is a huge money losing operation. This is in part because newspapers themselves are under intense competition and in part because third and fourth generation members who have their jobs only because of their parents are usually completely inept at management. (see Ford, Henry I and his descendants)
As for Mr. Bezos, no one thinks this is a shrewd investment on his part. The Post may only be able to be saved by continual injections of cash into the paper by Mr. Bezos, who of course has a lot of cash and can get more with two day delivery if he subscribes to Amazon Prime. Mr. Bezos obviously wants a toy, something to play with that puts him into the tight circle of Washington D. C. politicians and leaders. Owning the Post gets one a preferred seating ticket to every major political event in the nation's capital. That is really what Mr. Bezos has bought.
Fortunately it doesn’t appear that Mr. Bezos is particularly ideological, and he will probably not be a Rupert Murdoch (one Murdoch in a century is not just enough, it is too much). As for the Post Mr. Bezos says, like all acquirers say, that he will continue the current management. We doubt it. But we do want to congratulate him on his new toy, and hope he has fun. And if some good investigative reporting also comes along, well that would be fine also.