What would you do if you just had $250-million lying around? Some people go to space. Others buy sports teams. And if you’re Jeff Bezos, the man who started online retail giant Amazon.com, you buy a newspaper The Washington Post.
The world’s 14th-richest man clearly has grand ambitions, but none of them involve quite literally buying good press in the form of the 136-year-old newspaper. In a letter to the company, Bezos wrote, “The values of The Post do not need changing. The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.”
He even goes as far as saying that he has a day job he loves, and won’t meddle in the day-to-day operations at the newspaper. Instead, the paper will remain under the command of Katharine Weymouth, the current publisher and CEO.
While grabbing a piece of old-school publishing, while his other company’s Kindle devices become ever more popular for digital reading, Bezos has arguably made himself a player in the US capitol. Acquiring DC’s official newspaper could just be him slowly stepping into the political sphere, or perhaps its a sly move to boost the Kindle’s profile by giving away digital subscriptions to the paper. Speculation aside, Bezos did fund the purchase of The Washington Post out of his own pocket, and Amazon has no involvement here.