Axel Springer is to acquire Politico, including the remaining 50 per cent share of its current venture Politico Europe, in a continuation of its strategic expansion into the US media market. It has also signed an agreement to acquire Politico sibling publication and tech news website Protocol from Robert Allbritton.
Over its 15-year history, Politico has emerged as one of the world’s most influential news sources. Together with Insider and Morning Brew, which are already part of the company’s portfolio, Axel Springer’s US-headquartered news brands will have significant reach.
Today, more than 500 journalists at Politico and Protocol, launched in 2020, help set the agenda on urgent issues dominating the global public policy landscape. With significant revenue derived from high-value B2B subscriptions and advertising, the publishing model has produced steady growth and healthy profits, and has a proven strategy for further robust expansion moving forward.
Axel Springer and Politico in the US have been joint venture partners since 2014, when they launched Politico Europe. The Brussels-based publication has since become an indispensable source of information in the EU and has continuously grown both its newsroom and its revenues and has been profitable since 2019.
Mathias Döpfner, CEO Axel Springer, commented: “Politico’s outstanding team has disrupted digital political journalism and set new standards. 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.”
Robert L. Allbritton, Founder and Publisher of Politico and Protocol: “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.
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.”