Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos has acquired The Washington Post for $250 million (£163 million) in a “sudden and stunning turn of events” along with the free Washington-based daily Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.
The Washington Post has long been an influential newspaper in the US capital, but it has seen a downturn in fortunes in recent years alongside the rest of the newspaper industry as people have moved to consuming their news on the internet, where competition is fierce and people more actively look for varied sources for their news such as from digital-only startups.
Owning newspapers, just like owning football clubs, has long been the preserve of the rich and powerful, and the acquisition by Bezos himself, with the deal unrelated to Amazon, is simply a sign that digital billionaires are just like those before them. Newspapers give them an outlet for their opinions of the world, and much influence in political circles as shown by the Leveson Inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s dealings with Downing Street.
Bezos’ move comes just a week after John W Henry, owner of Liverpool Football Club and the Boston Red Sox baseball team, bought The Boston Globe for $70 million.