In 1964, Warren Buffett took over majority ownership of Berkshire Hathaway and turned it into a multinational conglomerate that invested in various industries, including the Washington Post Company, which owns the Washington Post and other major newspapers. This means that in 2013, when the newspaper went up for sale, Buffett also indirectly had the largest stake in the Washington Post. For this reason, in addition to his well-known affection for the newspaper and long-time friendship with Washington Post Company CEO Katharine Graham, many business insiders and pundits expected that he would jump at the chance to purchase the newspaper outright.

To the surprise of many, Buffett passed up on the deal and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon (AMZN), ended up acquiring the paper. After the deal was finalized, Buffett explained his reluctance to buy the newspaper by saying that he didn't want to burden future Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) board members or his own children with a newspaper they might not want. Instead of giving in to his sentimentality toward a newspaper that he once delivered door-to-door as a young boy, he took into consideration future generations and opted to let the Washington Post go to another investor.

Another main factor in his decision not to buy the paper was the steep decline in popularity of print newspapers that was taking place. At the time the Washington Post went up for sale, it had yet to find a way to stay relevant and solvent in a world where most people read their news on computers and mobile devices. Without a clear-cut plan to rejuvenate the paper, it seemed like a poor investment.