Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
Keeping up with the Joneses, 21st-century style
Think fast: What do the rich want?
Beep. If you answered yachts, jets and cottages in the Hamptons, you're just so early 21st century. Try newspapers, condos and gold underwear.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the latest billionaire to pick up a newspaper, plunking down $250 million for the Washington Post, which lost $50 million in the first half of the year. While a quarter-billion is real money to most of us, it's just 1 percent of the value of Bezos' Amazon stock.
Most major newspapers have been hammered in recent years, losing ad revenue to the Internet, so these venerable properties are going for a song. Last Friday, Boston Red Sox owner and commodities trader John Henry agreed to pay a mere $70 million to buy the Boston Globe from The New York Times Co., which paid $1.2 billion for the Globe in 1993.
Recent buyers aren't necessarily bargain shoppers, as these properties may never rebound.
(Read more: Higher bills? Thank the emerging middle class)
The profit motive may be at play in New York's high-end condo market. A shortage of luxury-apartment construction in recent years has made high-end properties harder to come by. Builders say they just can't build or convert fast enough to meet demand, and real estate agents say that buyers, aside from seeking prestige addresses, see luxury condos as a relatively safe investment.
Finally, there's that gold underwear. Made with golden thread rather than gold plating, the traditional method, the pricey ladies foundations are said to be supple and comfortable. The chief markets are the Middle East, where most buyers are women, and Russia, where they are men.
"If it wasn't clear that newspapers have become trophies for the wealthy with an interest in journalism or power—or a combination of both—it should be now."
—CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin
"These [newspaper] deals don't make financial sense. ... Newspapers have gone from the public markets to the hands of a relatively few billionaires who have an appetite for social, civic and financial roles."
—Ken Doctor, an analyst at Outsell, a research and consulting firm for the publishing industry