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Politico sells to German publishing company for $1 billion

August 26, 2021

German publisher Axel Springer announced Thursday that it plans to acquire digital media site Politico. The companies did not disclose a price for the deal, but a person familiar with the matter said Politico sold for about $1 billion.

Spokespeople for Axel Springer and Politico did not respond to a request for comment on the deal’s valuation.

The acquisition grows the publishing group’s portfolio in the U.S. further, adding to its ownership of Insider and Morning Brew. Axel Springer is the German publishing giant behind major news outlets like Bild and Die Welt in that country. It recently went private and continues to invest in U.S. digital media companies.

Axel Springer and Politico were already in a joint venture partnership since 2014, when Politico Europe launched, according to a press release. That news site has been profitable since 2019, the announcement said.

Axel Springer was in talks to buy Politico’s rival, Axios, earlier this year. But Axel Springer is no longer in discussions to purchase Axios now that it has a deal with Politico, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Politico founder and publisher Robert Allbritton will continue in that role for both Politico and sibling tech site Protocol, according to the release. The companies said its editorial and management leadership teams at Protocol and in the U.S. and Europe at Politico would remain and operate the publications independently from Axel Springer’s other U.S. brands.

The companies expect the deal will close in the fourth quarter of this year.