By Kristin Jones
The Washington Post Co. (>> The Washington Post Company) has agreed to sell its newspaper business, including its namesake newspaper, to the chief executive of Amazon.com Inc. (>> Amazon.com, Inc.).
Jeffrey Bezos is buying the newspaper business as an individual, and not in his capacity as CEO of Amazon, for $250 million.
Washington Post Chairman and CEO Donald E. Graham said the company decided to sell the business "only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post."
Mr. Bezos's "technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post," said Mr. Graham.
"I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, D.C., and our nation, and the Post's values will not change," said Mr. Bezos.
Katharine Weymouth will continue as CEO and publisher of the Post, while Stephen Hills will remain as president and general manager, Martin Baron as executive editor and Fred Hiatt as editor of the editorial page.
The deal also includes the company's other papers, including the Express, The Gazette Newspapers, and Southern Maryland Newspapers. It doesn't include Slate Magazine, TheRoot.com or Foreign Policy.
The Washington Post Co. will change its name in connection with the transaction. No new name has been announced.
The company, which also operates for-profit educator Kaplan University, has reported declining profits in recent years, hurt by declines in print advertising and circulation at its namesake paper. The company in June began charging for access to its paper's website, and raised prices for home delivery.
Washington Post Class B shares were up 4.5%, at $594.24 in after-hours trading. The stock has climbed 56% since the start of the year, through the close.
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