Germany's Axel Springer signs deal to acquire Politico

Washington (AFP) –


German publisher Axel Springer signed a deal to acquire the US-based news organization Politico, along with the remaining shares of their Politico Europe joint venture, the companies announced Thursday.

The 15-year-old Politico, which gained a reputation for insider Washington political reporting, will continue to operate as a separate entity with founder Robert Allbritton keeping his role as publisher, according to a joint statement.

The deal calls for the German firm to acquire all of Politico's US operations and the 50 percent of Politico Europe it does not already own, as well as Politico's recently launched technology website Protocol.

The deal expands the holdings of Axel Springer, known for the German newspapers Bild and Welt, as well as the US-based Insider (formerly Business Insider) and the website Morning Brew.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but reports have said Politico was seeking more than $1 billion.

"Politico's outstanding team has disrupted digital political journalism and set new standards," said Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Doepfne.

"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."

Politico made a name for itself as a subscription-based specialized online news site, as traditional print media suffered from a consumer shift to digital, and has been among the few to reach profitability.

"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," Allbritton said.

"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... 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."