German publisher Axel Springer SE is in discussions to buy an ownership stake in Washington, D.C.-based publisher Politico, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The deal could potentially include a full buyout, the report said, but the talks have not been finalized and the deal could still fall through. Representatives for both companies did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
In 2014, the two publishers launched Politico’s European edition in a 50/50 partnership. The operation is based in Brussels, with other locations throughout the continent.
Axel Springer is the owner of the German newspapers Bild and Die Welt. The company has been securing more U.S. media holdings recently, purchasing Business Insider in 2015 for some $500 million and business newsletter Morning Brew more recently. Axel Springer was also recently in talks to purchase another digital publisher, Axios, but executives there said in July said they wanted to maintain their independence.
In an internal memo to the staff, obtained by TheWrap, Politico publisher Robert Allbritton declined to comment, writing, “Both Axel Springer and my companies have a clear policy of simply not commenting—we don’t confirm, we don’t deny, we don’t wink, we don’t nod—about anything relating to investments or discussions about potential partnerships.”
The memo continued, “For your knowledge, for the past several years we have been working with an outside advisor on how to accelerate the growth of our publication globally and into new markets. We are pleased that over that time we have launched and acquired new publications and expanded our product offerings and editorial coverage. While we believe it may make sense to eventually combine POLITICO and POLITICO Europe into a single global publication, I would only consider inviting others to invest in the company if I felt it was in the best interests of the publication and consistent with our highest journalistic standards and business values.”