It’s an interesting purchase since the Washington Post isn’t good for much except political influence. Buy buying it, another digital noveau riche is leveraging himself forcefully into a position of serious political influence.
Questions have already been raised about collusion between Amazon Inc and Obama Inc after the anti-trust attack against Apple by the DOJ and Obama’s recent Amazon speech. This will only increase them.
Let’s start with the secrecy…
The deal was conducted in such secrecy that even the Post’s own stable of investigative reporters were taken by surprise when the paper published on its website a story about the transfer.
And then on to the new financials. Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon, is paying 250 mil for the Washington Post.
The Washington Post Company was worth 9.5 billion in 2004. It hasn’t been worth a fraction of that in a while. Bezos is buying the loss leader newspapers, while the WaPo company gets to keep the more profitable Kaplan line and the digitally oriented Slate. Normally you would expect it to be the other way around.
Instead Bezos gets the paper and a bunch of suburban area newspapers and El Tiempo Latino. It’s not a great business move, but Bezos has enough money to look at the larger influence picture.
Amazon is a success on paper, but has its problems. Winning the big fights will take political influence in a political environment dominated by crony capitalism.
By buying the Post, Bezos has picked up a nuclear weapon in a crony capitalist arsenal.