Amazon’s founder and current CEO, Jeff Bezos, is considering selling the Washington Post in an attempt to buy the NFL’s Washington Commanders, according to the New York Post.
It may be recalled that the Washington Post has lost 500,000 subscribers since Joe Biden took office. In 2021, The Washington Post had 3 million subscribers – a number that dropped to 2.5 million in 2022.
WaPo publisher Fred Ryan told employees at a company-wide meeting earlier this year that the layoffs would continue, after eliminating its Sunday magazine and cutting ten staff in the process last year.
The WaPo was bought by the billionaire for $250 million in 2013, but a new report says Bezos is “looking to clear the way” for the Commanders to be bought by embattled owner Dan Snyder.
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“Chatter is growing that Amazon’s billionaire founder is looking to clear the way for a buyout of the Washington Post by selling the Washington Post,” the Post reported. “The reported problem for Bezos is that the Commanders’ embattled owner, Dan Snyder, is still reeling from the newspaper’s revelations of a series of stories alleging a toxic management culture at the team.”
The outlet added that some speculated that Snyder believes Bezos actively pushed the paper’s critical coverage in 2020 in an effort to force him to sell the team.
In private meetings, Bezos assured the paper’s top management that he had no intention of selling, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
Although the billionaire has stated that he has no plans to sell the publication, the New York Post quoted an unnamed source as saying, “I think Bezos’s people can go to Dan and say, ‘We’re selling the paper,’ as a gesture of goodwill.”
“I think that goes a long way with Dan.”
The Daily Mail reported on November 2 that Snyder and his wife and co-CEO Tanya said they had hired Bank of America Securities to explore potential transactions. He did not say whether he was trying to sell the entire team or not.
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Meanwhile, Bank of America, which Snyder hired to bid on the Commanders, is “courting Bezos — despite indications that Snyder doesn’t want to sell” to the Amazon founder, Front Office Sports reported last Tuesday.
Bezos has not hired an investment banker to sell The Washington Post, nor has he made it entirely clear that it is for sale, the sources added. Neither source is close to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who, according to a Dec. 23 Axios report, is interested in buying either the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post.
A spokesman for Bezos said the Washington Post is not for sale. A spokeswoman for the Journal — whose owner, News Corp., also owns the New York Post — said the paper was not for sale.
Last week, reports emerged that the Commanders had taken the first round of bids from prospective acquirers and that Bezos, who is in talks with Jay-Z to team up for a buyout, was not among them.
He said football is his “favorite sport” in a November CNN interview, and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, was tight-lipped on the subject of Commanders, saying, “I love football — I’m just going. Throw it out there.”
Meanwhile, sports journalists are happy to weigh in on Dan Snyder’s side — whose attitude toward Bezos is reportedly less enthusiastic.
“Not only did I say Bezos did not submit a bid, people told me the Snyder family has no interest in selling to Bezos,” JP Finlay, who covers NBC Sports Commanders, tweeted last weekend. That’s in response to reports that the first round bid came in at $6.3 billion — less than Snyder’s reported $7 billion-plus.