Politico Acquired By German Publishing Giant Axel Springer

Politico, the 15-year-old digital media company covering politics and policy, is being sold to German publishing giant Axel Springer.

The price was more than $1 billion, according to a source familiar with the terms. Axel Springer also will also acquire the remaining 50 percent share of its joint venture Politico Europe, and the tech news website Protocol from current owner Robert Albritton.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval, with closing expected in the fourth quarter of this year.

The acquisition marks a further reach by Axel Springer into the U.S. market, as it already has Insider and Morning Brew as part of its portfolio.

In a statement, Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer, said that Politico’s “outstanding team has disrupted digital political journalism and set new standards. A true North Star. It will be a privilege and a special responsibility to help shape the future of this outstanding media company. Objective quality journalism is more important than ever, and we mutually believe in the necessity of editorial independence and nonpartisan reporting. This is crucial for our future success and accelerated growth.”

Politico and Protocol currently employ 500 journalists.

Allbritton will continue as publisher, and Axel Springer said that it would keep the editorial and management teams in place, with their publications operated separately from corporate other brands. In a statement, he said that in recent years, “it became steadily more clear that the responsibility to grow the business on a global scale, to better serve the audience and create more opportunities for our employees, might be better advanced by a larger company with a significant global footprint and ambitions than it could be by me as owner of a family business.”

Last week, Nextstar Media Group announced that it was acquiring another politics and policy publication, The Hill, for $130 million.


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