Axel Springer, the German media conglomerate, has agreed to buy the Washington-based Politico franchise for more than $1 billion.
Politico’s tech news sibling Protocol is also included in the deal, which was announced Thursday morning.
Axel Springer and Politico already work together on a joint venture in Europe. Building on that connection, the two sides started to talk in earnest about a deal earlier this summer. The Wall Street Journal revealed the talks earlier this month.
Between Politico’s operations in North America, its joint venture in Europe, and Protocol, the company says it employs more than 500 journalists.
Politico’s current owner, Robert Allbritton, said he decided to sell because “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.”
Allbritton will remain publisher of Politico and Protocol. Furthermore, “the editorial and management leadership teams of Politico in the U.S., Politico Europe and Protocol will remain in place,” Axel Springer said, operating separately from Axel’s other brands like Insider and Morning Brew.
The billion-dollar sales figure, confirmed by a person involved with the deal, is the latest sign of a frothy marketplace for digital content. Another Beltway news website, The Hill, sold to Nexstar Media Group last week.
Axel said it expects the deal to take effect by the end of the year.