Two months ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos surprised the newspaper by announcing he planned to purchase The Washington Post for about $250 million. Now, as of today, the transition is complete — Bezos formally took over as owner today, ending the 80-year reign of the Graham family at one of the nation's most prominent newspapers. Bezos now has his work cut out for him — like much of the newspaper industry, the Post has been losing readers and money for several years. At the time of Bezos' announcement, the Washington Post Company reported an operating loss of $49.3 million in the first six months of 2013, compared to a $33.2 million loss for the same period a year earlier.
Despite the difficult financial situation, the employees of the Post appeared energized by their new boss when he met with them in September — particularly when he noted that the paper likely couldn't survive further layoffs. Instead, Bezos plans to provide a "financial cushion" while the paper experiments to try and find a successful strategy. It looks like the arrival of Bezos has investors energized, as well. The Washington Post Company's stock closed the day at $628.54, up 2.8 percent, marking a five-year high. As for Bezos' future in the newspaper business, he told The Verge last week that he wasn't interested in purchasing any additional papers beyond the Post.