Media: Bezos buys The Washington Post
Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos has snapped up The Washington Post, said Christine Haughney in The New York Times. Bezos agreed to pay $250 million for “the newspaper whose reporting helped topple a president and inspired a generation of journalists,” and will own the Post in a personal capacity. Despite the paper’s declining revenues, industry insiders were shocked this week when Washington Post Co. CEO and Chairman Donald Graham announced the deal at a staff meeting. “As the newspaper business continued to bring up questions to which we have no answers,” he said, “[we] began to ask ourselves if our small public company was still the best home for the newspaper.”
The Post wasn’t the only media property to change hands last week, said David Von Drehle in Time.com. The New York Times Co. announced it was selling The Boston Globe to Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million, a steep markdown from the $1.1 billion it paid for the paper in 1993. And troubled Newsweek, which was sold in 2010 to billionaire Sidney Harman for $1, was on the block, too. The newsweekly, which merged with TheDailyBeast.com and last year dropped its print edition, is now owned by IBT Media, publisher of the International Business Times.
Tech: Obama vetoes Apple ban
The Obama administration has overturned a ban on the sale of older iPhones and iPads, said Diane Bartz and Ayesha Rascoe in Reuters.com. The surprising move came two months after the U.S. International Trade Commission banned the models for infringing a Samsung patent. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman lifted that ban last week, citing its “effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.” Apple praised the administration for “standing up for innovation,” and Samsung said it was disappointed.
Cable: Time Warner blacks out CBS
CBS and Time Warner Cable are on the outs, said Alex Ben Block in HollywoodReporter.com. After negotiations between the two companies broke down last week, the nation’s second-largest cable company blacked out CBS stations in more than 3 million U.S. homes. The conflict hinges on CBS’s demand for higher retransmission fees, which TWC said would set an expensive precedent. The cable company’s action may encourage satellite providers carrying CBS stations, such as DirecTV and Dish, to “aggressively go after TWC customers.”
Crime: Ex-Goldman trader guilty of fraud
A federal jury last week convicted an ex–Goldman Sachs trader of defrauding investors in a mortgage deal, said Justin Baer, Chad Bray, and Jean Eaglesham in The Wall Street Journal. Fabrice Tourre, “who once went by the nickname ‘Fabulous Fab,’” was found guilty on six of seven charges that he intentionally misled investors and “aided and abetted an alleged fraud by Goldman.” While a judge still needs to sign off on Tourre’s punishment, a spokesman for the Securities and Exchange Commission said it would seek financial penalties and a ban on Tourre’s participation in the financial-services industry.
Regulators: Government sues Bank of America
The Justice Department and the SEC both sued Bank of America this week, accusing the bank of fleecing investors by selling $850 million in iffy mortgage-backed securities, said Tom Schoenberg and Phil Mattingly in Bloomberg.com. The civil suits “lay out a pattern of intentional acts by bank officials to disguise the mortgages’ risks.” The government complaints say the bank cut corners on scrutinizing the mortgages, “in part to save about $15,000 in expenses,” and failed to follow its own standards while vetting borrowers’ income and assets.