Berlin-based media company Axel Springer announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire US-based Politico. The deal is reportedly worth over $1B (approx €849.82M). The transaction is expected to be closed in Q4 2021.
Axel Springer publishes newspapers, magazines, and digital sales channels.
Politico is an established online, mobile, and print destination for coverage and analysis of the US Congress, the White House, and general politics in the US, along with coverage of global politics and policy.
In addition to this, Axel Springer will also acquire 50 per cent share of Politico’s current joint venture Politico Europe, as well as the tech news website Protocol from Politico founder Robert Allbritton.
Founded in 2007 by Robert Allbritton, Politico is a global news and information company specialising in politics, policy, and power.
Robert Allbritton explains, “my 15-year adventure with Politico has been the ride of a lifetime. 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. Above all, I have always known that ownership is about responsibility.”
“As Politico has prospered in recent years, accompanied by the successful launch of Protocol, 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,” adds Allbritton.
Politico, and its sibling publication Protocol (launched in 2020), help set the agenda on the most urgent issues dominating the global public policy landscape. The company generates its revenue primarily through business-to-business subscriptions and advertising.
Protocol covers US and China ‘big tech’ in addition to areas such as enterprise technology, fintech, and the evolving tech workplace. Protocol’s team includes reporters in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC and London.
Politico has grown to a team of 700 people across North America, more than half of whom are editorial staff. Politico Europe, its seven-year-old European edition, employs around 200 people. Earlier this year, the company acquired E&E News, an organisation focused solely on covering energy and the environment.
Aim of this acquisition
With this acquisition, Politico will strengthen Axel Springer’s portfolio with an authoritative voice offering inside perspective and analysis of politics and policy in Washington DC, across the US, and around the globe. Along with Axel Springer’s portfolio companies, Insider and Morning Brew, they will together have a significant reach.
Axel Springer and Politico have been joint venture partners in the US since 2014, right after Politico Europe was launched. The Brussels-based publication has since become an indispensable source of information in the EU and has continuously grown both its newsroom and revenues. It has been profitable since 2019.
Speaking on the development, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, says, “Politico’s team has disrupted digital political journalism and set new standards. 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.”
With this acquisition, Robert Allbritton will continue as publisher of Politico and Protocol. The editorial and management leadership teams of Politico in the US, Politico Europe and Protocol will remain in place. They will continue to operate their publications separately from Axel Springer’s other brands headquartered in the US.
About Axel Springer
Axel Springer founded the publishing house in Hamburg in 1946 as a media and technology company. After consistent internationalisation and digitisation, Axel Springer not only claims to be the market leader in the German print business, but is also active in more than 40 countries through subsidiaries, joint ventures, and licenses.
By providing information across its diverse media brands (BILD, WELT, Insider, and Politico Europe among others) and classified portals (StepStone Group and AVIV Group), Axel Springer empowers people to make free decisions for their lives.
What’s next for Axel Springer? The goal has been set as the company aims to become the global leader in digital content and digital classifieds through accelerated growth. The company employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.