Home Business before Elon Musk, other billionaires had already offered themselves media

before Elon Musk, other billionaires had already offered themselves media


The news fell on Monday April 25: Elon Musk bought Twitter for more than 40 billion euros. The boss of Tesla and SpaceX wants to make the social network “ the platform for freedom of expression in the world “.

→ EDITORIAL. Takeover of Twitter: Wild West

In the United States, it is not uncommon for billionaires, often from Silicon Valley, to invest in information and communication media. But they have turned more in recent years to traditional media. If these takeovers have allowed struggling securities to get their heads above water, they also feed suspicions about the growing influence of these businessmen in public debate.

→ EXPLANATION. Why Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter is worrying

► In 2013, Jeff Bezos offers the Washington Post

The founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos opens the ball of acquisitions of major American media in 2013, offering himself the prestigious washington post. The daily at the origin of the Watergate revelations was then in financial difficulty, for lack of having been able to take the digital turn. Jeff Bezos acquires it for just over 200 million euros. A sum that seems derisory compared to the billions spent by Elon Musk for Twitter.

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→ EXPLANATION. Elon Musk takes on Twitter in five key dates

Jeff Bezos immediately invests nearly 50 million additional euros in the daily. It thus finances a digital transformation plan and recruits journalists. The equation works, since the newspaper saw its number of digital subscribers triple between 2015 and 2018. It now has nearly 3 million.

► In 2017, Laurene Jobs acquired The Atlantic magazine

Laurene Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, took in 2017 (through her organization Emerson Collective) a majority stake in the capital of The Atlantic. The major American magazine is in fairly good health and the amount of the transaction is therefore not communicated.

Laurene Jobs follows the example of Jeff Bezos by recruiting journalists. And the businesswoman does not stop there. She also acquires the title online Pop Up and the California Sunday Magazine in 2018, thus gradually building a group in the media.

► Time is bought by Marc and Lynne Benioff in 2018

In 2018, the magazine Time has been suffering from a decline in circulation for several years. It was then taken over by Marc and Lynne Benioff, for more than 160 million euros. An acquisition made in a personal capacity by the couple, whose fortune was at the time estimated at nearly 7 billion dollars.

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→ TO REREAD. In the United States, Joe Biden relaunches the taxation of the super-rich

“We are investing in a company that is having a major impact on the world and whose business is extremely strong”, welcomes at the time Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce, which publishes customer relations software for companies.

► Patrick Soon-Shiong becomes owner of the Los Angeles Times in 2018

Patrick Soon-Shiong, a former surgeon who made his fortune in biotechnology, acquired in 2018 the Los Angeles Times, then in financial difficulties. He pays nearly 500 million euros to the Tron group, which then owns the newspaper. He himself appoints the editor-in-chief, appointing Norman Pearlstine, formerly of the Wall Street JournalI. The billionaire also buys other titles such as the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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