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商业 - 传媒与文化

家族传人详解《华盛顿邮报》出售始末

Stephanie N. Mehta 2013年08月07日

为何将家族的报纸出售给杰夫•贝佐斯?即将更名的华盛顿邮报公司未来怎么发展?《华盛顿邮报》CEO唐纳德•格雷厄姆向《财富》杂志做了介绍。

    华盛顿邮报公司CEO唐•格雷厄姆在2012年《财富》科技头脑风暴大会上发言。

    华盛顿邮报公司(Washington Post Co.)董事长兼CEO唐纳德•E•格雷厄姆称,对于公司以2.5亿美元现金的价格将旗下的旗舰报纸和其他出版业务出售给亚马逊(Amazon)CEO杰夫•贝佐斯,他“感觉很好”。

    周二上午接受《财富》杂志(Fortune)采访时,格雷厄姆表示:“我们公司将《华盛顿邮报》(Washington Post)出售,我当然感到非常惋惜。但与公司其他人不同,我已经为这笔交易考虑了几个月时间,而且已经做好了准备。我相信,杰夫是最适合《华盛顿邮报》的老板。”

    周二,华盛顿邮报公司的股票应声上涨至52周以来的最高点。这家公司股票在中午上涨至约23美元,涨幅达到4%,使公司市值达到了44亿美元——它表明,投资者更加看好放弃出版业务之后的公司。格雷厄姆说:“我不知道市场会有怎样的反应。公司CFO哈尔•琼斯和我都认为,股票可能上涨,也可能下跌。我们对任何一种结果都不会感到吃惊。”

    按照交易条件,华盛顿邮报公司将更换名称。【这家公司保留了Slate杂志、TheRoot.com和《外交政策》杂志(Foreign Policy),以及教育业务卡普兰(Kaplan),和有线与广播资产。】格雷厄姆称公司的新名称尚未确定。他说:“我们将自行决定。我们会接受外界的建议,但我们不会聘请顾问。”

    他对教育业务的增长依然保持乐观:“高质量的教育肯定会有巨大的需求。全世界的人们都渴望接受教育。”

    1933年,格雷厄姆的祖父在一次破产出售中买下了《华盛顿邮报》。格雷厄姆自1979年1月至2000年9月期间一直担任报纸发行人,2000年9月至2008年2月期间,担任报社总裁。他表示,作为报纸主办人的这段经历让他学到了许多宝贵的经验,即使在眼下这笔交易完成之后,这些宝贵经验还会一直伴随着他。

    他说:“我们学到的其中一课是“以人为本”。(前任总裁)凯伊•格雷厄姆所做的第一件事就是,聘用本•布莱德利担任报社编辑,这也是她做出过的最英明的商业决策之一;另外一个英明决定是把沃伦•巴菲特请进公司董事会。”

    格雷厄姆程,这种以人为本的观点使得把出版业务出售给贝佐斯变得“较为容易接受”。“杰夫是非常值得尊敬的、深思熟虑的人。他饱读诗书,曾写过许多与商业有关的文章。虽然他的个人品质并不是此次交易的决定因素,但却让交易更加简单。”

    格雷厄姆称,他和贝佐斯彼此认识已有15年时间。他说,在此期间,他经常向贝佐斯征询有关新闻与科技的建议与观点。

    格雷厄姆和投资公司Allen & Co.的银行家南希•佩雷兹曼在考虑出售《华盛顿邮报》时列出了潜在买家的清单。“我们的清单上都有杰夫,不过,我说:‘我很怀疑他是否会有兴趣,因为众所周知,他一直专注于亚马逊。’”

    格雷厄姆并不是科技领域的门外汉(他是Facebook董事会成员)。他表示,对于贝佐斯将给《华盛顿邮报》注入的创新与想法,他感到非常乐观。他指着贝佐斯送给报社全体员工的备忘录(已在《华盛顿邮报》网站上发布),里面写道:“我们需要创新,这意味着我们需要进行实验。”

    格雷厄姆说:“未来,这里会成一个令人兴奋的地方。”(财富中文网)

    译者:刘进龙/汪皓 

    Donald E. Graham, the chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Co. (WPO) says he is "feeling good" about the company's sale of its flagship newspaper and other publishing businesses to Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos for $250 million in cash.

    "I'm obviously very sad about our company selling the Washington Post, but unlike everybody else in this building I've had months to think it over and prepare for it," Graham told Fortune in an interview Tuesday morning. "I think Jeff's the best possible owner for the Post."

    The news drove Washington Post stock Tuesday to a 52-week high. At midday, shares in the company were up about $23, or 4%, giving the company a market capitalization of $4.4 billion -- an indication that investors are more bullish on the company without its publishing unit. "I didn't know what the market reaction would be," Graham says. "Hal Jones, our CFO, and I agreed that the stock might go up, and it might go down. Nothing would have surprised us."

    Under the terms of the deal, the Washington Post Company will change its name. (The company retains Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy as well as Kaplan, an education subsidiary, and cable and broadcasting properties.) Graham says a new name hasn't yet been determined. "We will decide it among ourselves," he says. "We're open to suggestions, but we will not hire a consultant."

    He remains particularly optimistic about the growth of the education business. "There's going to be massive demand for quality education. People around the world are hungry for education."

    Graham, whose grandfather purchased the Washington Post at a bankruptcy sale in 1933, was publisher of the Post from January 1979 until September 2000 and chairman of the newspaper from September 2000 to February 2008. He says he learned valuable lessons from his time as a newspaperman that will stay with him long after the sale to Bezos is completed.

    "One of the business lessons we all learn is that it's all about the people. The first thing [previous chairman] Kay Graham did was hire Ben Bradlee as editor, and it may have been the best decision she made in business, along with bringing Warren Buffett on the board" of directors, he says.

    Such a people-centric view made it "easy" to sell the publishing business to Bezos, Graham says. "Jeff is a very, very decent, thoughtful man. He is very well read, and he's written a lot about business. His personal qualities didn't decide it, but they made the decision easy."

    Graham says he and Bezos have probably known each other for about 15 years, during which time Graham says he would reach out to Bezos for advice and perspectives on news and technology.

    When Graham and Allen & Co. banker Nancy Peretsman began considering the sale of the Post, they drew up a list of potential buyers. "We both had Jeff on our lists but I said, 'I doubt very much that he'd be interested because he is so famously singleminded about Amazon.' "

    Graham, no slouch in the tech department (he is on the board of directors of Facebook (FB)), says he is optimistic about the innovation and thinking Bezos will bring to Washington Post. He points to Bezos' memo to the staff of the Post (published on the Washington Post's website), which says: "We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."

    "It's going to be a very exciting place," Graham says.

    

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