City Desk

Publisher: Katharine Graham Would Support Selling Washington Post to Jeff Bezos

After 80 years of family ownership, Washington Post Co. CEO Don Graham and Post publisher Katharine Weymouth decided to sell the paper to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos because of dipping revenues, Graham wrote to the paper's employees today.

"Katharine and I began to ask ourselves if our small public company was still the best home for the newspaper," Graham writes. Still, he pushed back at an all-staff meeting about the announcement at the idea that the Post's sale to Bezos, who Graham has known for 15 years, means public companies can no longer successfully run newspapers.

At an all-staff announcement of the news, Weymouth told employees she thought her grandmother, former Post publisher Katharine Graham, would support their decision to sell the paper.

"He does not have a political agenda," Weymouth said of Bezos. "He understands that we are going to cover him and his business."

Graham told employees that he's known Bezos for 15 years, and frequently asked him for advice on media and new technology. Possibly in preparation for the sale, Bezos sold $185 million in Amazon stock on Friday.

With a fortune valued at $25.2 billion, Bezos could sustain the operating losses from the Post and the rest of the company's newspapers—most recently at $34.5 million a quarter—for more than 182 years.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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