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.
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, which owns top national titles in Germany such as Die Welt and the country’s most widely read Bild daily, as well as the US-based Insider (formerly Business Insider) and the website Morning Brew.
The terms of the deal were not announced, but reports have said Politico was seeking more than $1 billion.
Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Doepfner told the Handelsblatt daily it was a “record” sum.
This would make it at least 630 million euros ($737 million) -- the sum Axel Springer is said to have paid for its most expensive acquisition to date, the real estate portal SeLoger, Handelsblatt said.
“Politico’s outstanding team has disrupted digital political journalism and set new standards. A true North Star,” said Doepfner.
“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.
“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.”
Politico, founded in 2007, employs 700 staff working across North America, more than half of whom are editorial staff. Politico Europe, launched in 2014 and based in Brussels, has some 200 employees.