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华盛顿邮报公司宣布,亚马逊创始人兼CEO杰夫·贝佐斯个人以2.5亿美元收购其旗下的所有的报纸(及报纸附属网站),包括华盛顿邮报、Express Daily以及The Gazette Newspapers等,但不包括网络杂志Slate、TheRoot.com以及双月刊杂志《外交政策》。

华盛顿邮报是华盛顿哥伦比亚特区规模最大、创刊最久的一份报纸,并在上个世纪70年代揭露水门事件并迫使理查德·尼克松离职,获得了大量声誉。在宣布2.5亿美元现金收购华盛顿邮报以及华盛顿邮报公司旗下众多资产后,贝佐斯已然美国报业的大玩家。同时,在收购后,贝佐斯表示,自己已经有一份全职工作(亚马逊CEO)要做,所以目前不会参与华盛顿邮报的日常管理工作,并对目前的管理团队很满意,很高兴他们能够继续留下。

传统报业正在走下坡路,大型的报业机构也不例外,纽约时报上周宣布将旗下的波士顿环球报以7000万美元出售,华盛顿邮报在上周公布了财务信息,2013年前六个月的运营亏损为4900万美元,而去年同期运营亏损为3300万,相较增长了近50%。

那为何将投资盘扩展到一个看起来终究要被这个时代淘汰的行业,贝佐斯告诉商业周刊,他看到技术如何使得新闻的分销过程变得精简——去除掉“中间人”,他认为“即使是好心的看门人也会延缓创新”,所以他要将这些看门统统去除,就好比作者可以直接在Kindle上出版电子书、亚马逊工作室部门为电视节目提供专项基金进行制作。

值得注意的是,此次收购华盛顿邮报是贝佐斯以个人名义通过其私人基金——Bezos Expeditions进行的。而在此之前,贝佐斯以个人名义还做过哪些商业投资呢,也就是说亚马逊之外的贝佐斯都在干什么呢?

贝佐斯是Google的早期投资者,1998年,贝佐斯向这家初生的创业公司投入了25万美元,但贝佐斯从未对外透露是否还持有Google的股份。

Space X的竞争对手——蓝色起源

2000年,当时亚马逊看起来都要分崩离析的时候,贝佐斯开启了一项新的生意——成立了一家名叫“蓝色起源”的太空公司。

蓝色起源致力成为一家商业企业,让太空游客能够在近地轨道观看地球和星星,而长远的目标则是为了让人类长久地占据太空。贝佐斯谦虚地把蓝色起源形容成“一个巨大的、充满挑战的、难度很大的技术努力的一小部分”,他则希望蓝色起源能够让太空旅行变得更安全、高效且实惠。

与Elon Musk的Space X一样,蓝色起源采用的技术也是垂直起飞和降落,这也是NASA从来没研究过的领域,他们更倾向于向太空船那样海洋溅落或者滑翔着陆。2006年11月,贝佐斯以及他的合作伙伴,在德克萨斯州的发射场地,见证了基于垂直起飞和降落设计的飞船“戈达德号”的第一次试飞,在飞船上升到285英尺的高度后,飞船又轻轻着地。在2010年,蓝色起源获得了NASA 3700万美元的奖励,因为其设计了一个宇航员逃生系统以及建立了一个火箭模型进行地面测试。

长期来看,Space X和蓝色起源这两家商业航天公司处于竞争关系。根据佛罗里达今日报的报道,蓝色起源正在和Space X竞争与位于佛罗里达州的肯尼迪航天中心39号发射复合体签订使用协议。报道显示,Space X与NASA快要达成协议,协议规定Space拥有肯尼迪航天中心39 A发射台15年的使用权,而NASA则可以使用Space X火箭将宇航员送到国际空间站。蓝色起源由于尚未将飞船发射到太空的经验,所以在竞争中处于劣势,不过其承诺达成协议后,将装备并运营此发射台,为有火箭发射需求的企业提供服务,包括Space X。

Bezos Expeditions的投资盘

除了投资探索太空这种长跑项目,杰夫·贝佐斯在消费互联网上的投资也很有建树。以下为其私人基金Bezos Expeditions的投资盘:

Airbnb:2011年7月,Bezos Expeditions参与Airbnb B轮投资

Twitter:2008年5月,Bezos Expeditions参与Twitter B轮融资

Uber:2011年12月,Bezos Expeditions参与打车应用Uber B轮融资

Rethink Robotics:工业机器人制造商Rethink Robotics的A、B、C三轮融资,Bezos Expeditions全程参与

Makerbot:3D打印初创公司Makerbot在2011年接受来自Bezos Expeditions等投资机构1000万美元的投资,2013年6月被Stratasys4.03亿收购

ZocDoc:2008年8月,Bezos Expeditions参与在线医生预约网站ZocDoc A轮融资

Nextdoor:私密社交网站Nextdoor在2013年2月,获得来自Bezos Expeditions等投资机构2160万美元的B轮融资

Business Insider:2013年4月,商业科技媒体Business Insider获得500万美元融资,Bezos Expeditions领投

37signals:基于网络的协作、信息分享与决策制定应用开发商37signals在2006年7月获得来自Bezos Expeditions的A轮投资

注:本文作者郭海峰


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