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Politico, the digital media brand covering politics, will become part of German media giant Axel Springer as it further expands its political news operations.
The publisher said on Thursday that it has signed a deal with founder and publisher Robert Allbritton to acquire the destination for inside news from Washington, Brussels, London and beyond, including the remaining 50 percent stake of their joint venture Politico Europe, along with technology news site Protocol. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
The 15-year-old Politico “will complement and strengthen Axel Springer’s portfolio with an authoritative voice offering inside perspective and analysis of politics and policy in Washington D.C., across the U.S., and around the globe,” the companies said. “Together with Insider and Morning Brew, which are already part of the company’s portfolio, Axel Springer’s U.S.-headquartered news brands will have a significant reach.”
The deal comes after TV station company Nexstar Media Group recently struck an agreement to acquire political news organization The Hill for $130 million. It will add to Nexstar’s news operations, including NewsNation, a national news and entertainment cable network reaching 75 million homes. The firm said The Hill has 48 million average monthly users and had 2.2 billion total pageviews in 2020, citing Comscore.
Springer said that more than 500 journalists work for Politico and sibling publication Protocol, launched in 2020. “With significant revenue derived from high-value business-to-business subscriptions and advertising, the publishing model has produced steady growth and healthy profits, and has a proven strategy for further robust expansion moving forward,” it said. Springer and Politico have been venture partners on Politico Europe since 2014.
Said Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner: “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.”
Allbritton added: “My 15-year adventure with Politico has been the ride of a lifetime. I reach this milestone with a sense of satisfaction that I hope is shared by every Politico. Together we have built what is without a doubt the most impressive and most enduring of the many experiments in new publications over the past generation. Particularly in recent years, we have put the emphasis on doing rather than boasting, and what multiple competitors have aspired to — a consistently profitable publication that supports true journalistic excellence — we have achieved.”
Allbritton will continue as publisher of Politico and Protocol. The rest of the editorial and management leadership teams will also remain in place and will continue to operate separately from Axel Springer’s other brands headquartered in the U.S.
“Both parties have agreed not to disclose the deal terms,” according to a press release. “Subject to regulatory approval, closing of the transaction is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021.”
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