(REUTERS) - Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos has agreed to buy the newspaper assets of the Washington Post Co, including its flagship daily, for US$250 million (S$318 million).
The surprise deal follows the New York Times Co's sale of the Boston Globe for US$70 million, and is a further indication of the unprecedented challenges newspapers face as advertising revenue and readership decline.
Washington Post chairman and chief executive Donald E Graham, whose family owns the paper, said it would be better served with another owner.
"I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell 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 Graham said. "Jeff Bezos' proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post."
Mr Bezos, who has built Seattle-based Amazon.com into a shopping and online technology force over the last two decades, made a small foray into media earlier this year with a small investment in internet news site Business Insider.
In a letter published on the Washington Post's website, Mr Bezos promised no radical change.
"The values of The Post do not need changing," Mr Bezos wrote."The paper's duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners."
Amazon.com is to be kept separate from the Post deal, according to the Washington Post.
The transaction covers The Washington Post and other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.