Bezos will pay $250 million in cash to the Washington Post Co. (WPO), which owns the paper and other businesses. Amazon itself will reportedly have no ownership stake in the paper -- this seems to be a side project for Bezos, who founded Amazon in 1994 and has generally avoided the spotlight as CEO.
Meanwhile, the seller says it will pick a new (as yet undisclosed name) and continue to operate as a publicly traded company running its other media outlets, as well as test prep and educational subsidiary Kaplan.
While the Washington Post has not been immune from the struggles that have impacted the newspaper industry in the digital age, there had been no significant rumors that any kind of sale was in the works.
For now, it's unclear what approach the tech pioneer will take as owner of the paper.
The unexpected move comes a week after another high-profile billionaire, Red Sox owner John Henry, purchased the Boston Globe for $70 million from the New York Times Company, which bought the paper a decade ago for more than $1 billion. Meanwhile, controversial billionaires Charles and David Koch have run into political opposition in their question to acquire the Tribune Company, which owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.