The media world was taken by surprise when Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million last week. What the billionaire entrepreneur behind Amazon.com has planned for the 135-year-old newspaper is anyone’s guess, but one Silicon Valley financier says radical changes are imminent.
Michael Moritz, a venture capitalist who invested in giants like Google, Yahoo!, and PayPal (to name a few), theorized that Bezos’s opening salvo could be adding another powerful Beltway media property to his shopping cart: Politico. Moritz told to the Financial Times that Bezos was likely to make a drastic change–like combining the two publications–right away.
He even suggested that Bezos could stop the printing presses altogether and turn the Post into an online-only news source.
FT floats the idea that Bezos’s purchase of the Washington Post was done to advance his personal interests, and accumulating another D.C. media brand could further that goal.
“The cynics would say he’s buying the best lobbying voice in Washington, and I don’t think that’s far from the truth,” high-tech investor Roger McNamee told the Financial Times.
Though their traffic is down significantly from the presidential-cycle high in 2012, according to alexa.com, Politico has quickly become a force in the Capitol and it has done so with an emphasis on a digital platform. The Post, on the other hand, has seen their print circulation drop a massive 40% over the last two decades.
Bezos, who launched Amazon.com in 1995 and took it public less than two years later, is known for being a forward-thinker and risk taker. The Washington Post is a universally recognized brand, but with Americans consuming their news increasingly online, acquiring web-savvy Politico might be exactly the bold move he’s likely to make.
Politico’s Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris and Executive Editor Jim VandeHei worked for the Washington Post prior to founding Politico in January, 2007.