When Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos bougtht the Washington Post from the Graham family in 2013, it elicited a collective gasp. The newsprint side of the business had been hemorrhaging revenue for years and the digital side was a latecomer to the highly competitive digital subscriber market. Couple that with the fact that it was Bezos' personal investment fund that purchased the paper and not his media-savvy flagship company, it left many inside the Beltway scratching their heads.
The fabled investor, Warren Buffett, sits on the board of the Graham Holdings Company (formally called the Washington Post Co.) and is a major shareholder. Many wondered why Bezos would want to buy for $250M an enterprise that Buffett was clearly eagerly interested on selling.
The answer appears to have arrived. Several tech and business website are reporting that the Post will be pre-installed on new Kindle Fire HDX tablets, isntantly giving it the national expsoure it had futilely sought on its own. Admitedly few publications have a truely national reach, such as that enjoyed by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Amazon.com has been recently trying to generate the content necessary to sweeten its offerings on its highly profitable Amazon Prime service. Amazon Prime subscribers receive 2-day free shipping on items stocked by the Internet giant, as well as a large free library of TV shows, movies, and books. New content from a prominent newspaper would help satisfy subscribers' voracious appetite for new content as well as make it possible for future increases in subscription price.
For Nash Holding LLC (the name the Post took on after the sale), the move would not be completely altruistic. Bezos is no doubt looking for ways to pay back his hefty original investment as well as the continuing cost of a beefier staff at the Post--hired to generate all that new content.