Politico will be acquired by Axel Springer publishing group, the companies announced Thursday. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
The companies said they would not disclose terms of the deal, but last week, the New York Times reported that publisher and founder Robert Allbritton was seeking as much as $1 billion for his media outlet, which generates annual revenues of about $200 million. On Thursday, reports indicated the deal was made for more than $1 billion. Representatives for the companies did not return a request for comment on the terms.
Axel Springer, which already has Insider and Morning Brew in its portfolio, will acquire the political news site, including the remaining 50% share of its current joint venture Politico Europe and the tech news website Protocol, from Allbritton. Politico was founded in 2007 and employs over 700 people in North America, more than half of whom work in editorial, according to the company. The European edition was founded seven years ago and employs nearly 200 people.
Allbritton said in a statement, “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.”
He continued: “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. As I have often said, I would only welcome a new investor that reflected my values and POLITICO’s distinctive company values. Axel Springer and Mathias Döpfner and his team meet that test better than any other company in media today. I look forward to working with them as publisher of Politico and Protocol as we reach even greater heights.”
Allbritton will continue in his role as publisher of Politico and Protocol, the announcement said, and the editorial and management teams at Politico, Politico Europe and Protocol will remain in place. Politico will continue operations separately from other Axel Springer offices in the United States.