Politico Acquired by German Media Company Axel Springer

German publishing group Axel Springer announced a deal to acquire Politico, the 15-year-old digital political news outlet.

The price of the acquisition wasn’t disclosed. Axel Springer’s deal for Politico includes the remaining 50% share of the companies’ current joint venture Politico Europe, as well as the tech news website Protocol. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

The deal comes less than a week after broadcast TV group Nexstar Media bought The Hill, a Politico competitor, for $130 million.

Axel Springer is buying Politico from owner Robert Allbritton, who will continue as publisher of Politico and Protocol. The editorial and management leadership teams of Politico in the U.S., Politico Europe and Protocol will remain in place, and will continue to operate their publications separately from Axel Springer’s other U.S.-based brands.

The deal augments Axel Springer’s U.S. footprint, which includes Business Insider (which it bought in 2015 for about $500 million) and Morning Brew, a business-focused digital publication.

Axel Springer and Politico in the U.S. have been joint venture partners since 2014, when they launched Politico Europe. According to Axel Springer, Politico Europe has been profitable since 2019.

Mathias Döpfner, CEO Axel Springer, commented: “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 commented, “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.”

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