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Politico Sold to German Publisher Axel Springer

German publisher Axel Springer announced Thursday that it has purchased Politico.

The German publishing giant also owns Business Insider and Morning Brew. As of May, the company had acquired a stake in Axios. Additionally, Alex Springer was noted for its purchasing recruiting site Stepstone and French real estate site Se Loger. The deal could have cost up to $1 billion, one person familiar with the deal told CNCB.

A spokesperson for the two companies did not return a request for comment.

The Arlington, VA-based media company was founded in 2007 by John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei, previously of the Washington Post. The outlet’s purpose was to cover Congress, political campaigns, and lobbying.

“Noted for a style of journalism that satisfied the increasingly screen-based reading habits of Washington’s political class — shorter, faster, more plentiful and steeped in an insider tone — it grew substantially, adding a wide-ranging mix of policy-focused verticals and spinoffs and a European edition that it co-owned with Axel Springer,” reports the Washington Post. Axel Springer’s “strategy in the United States has mostly focused on properties like Politico that have succeeded in making money through subscriptions and sponsorships more so than the advertising business model many other media properties rely on.”

Politico’s employees were told there would be no changes for the “indefinite future” and that day-to-day operations would stay the same in a memo on Thursday.

“Politico founder and publisher Robert Allbritton will continue in that role for both Politico and sibling tech site Protocol,” per CNBC. “The companies said its editorial and management leadership teams at Protocol and in the U.S. and Europe at Politico would remain and operate the publications independently from Axel Springer’s other U.S. brands.”

Allbritton said he thought Politico would fare better if it was part of “a larger company with a significant global footprint and ambitions.”

Mathias Döpfner, Axel Springer’s chief executive, said in the announcement, “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.”

According to SF Gate, the German publishing company is “named after its founder” and “was established after World War II. Its company ethos explicitly includes a commitment to ‘democracy and a united Europe,’ support for the Jewish people and the state of Israel, a rejection of extremism and emphasis on free market ideas and the transatlantic alliance between the United States of America and Europe.”

There are roughly 700 Politico employees in North America and another 200 employees in Europe.

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