It’s hard to say no to a man at the top of his game. Before settling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Washington Post CEO Donald Graham solicited prospective buyers for his newspaper a few months ago, according to sources. Several turned him down, while others who were interested were not seen as the kind of buyers that would be good stewards of the Washington Post, which has been under the control of the Graham family for about 70 years.
In the end, the Washington Post was sold to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for $250 million. In a public letter from Graham, he posed and answered two questions: Why are we selling, and why to Jeff? Graham said that it would’ve been difficult for the Washington Post to succeed within a small public company, and the owners wanted the paper to do more than just survive.
As for “why to Jeff?” sources said that Bezos was the highest bidder in an auction process run by boutique investment bank Allen & Co., which is well-known for its conference of technology and media moguls in Sun Valley, Idaho. But the Graham family also felt that Bezos would be the best steward of the Washington Post brand, the sources said.
Bezos has shown he is willing to invest in Amazon at the price of profitability. In the company’s most recent earnings report, Amazon was operating at a loss, mostly because of an increase in expenses due to investments in the business. Bezos just threw another log on the fire.