Germany publishing company Axel Springer said Thursday that it has signed a deal to buy US-based Politico and the tech news site Protocol from founder Robert Allbritton. Axel Springer already owns US properties including the online media company Insider and the business-oriented Morning Brew. Under the deal, the German publisher will also acquire the 50% stake in Politico Europe that it didn't already own. Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Doepfner said Politico had "disrupted digital political journalism and set new standards," the AP reports. "Objective quality journalism is more important than ever, and we mutually believe in the necessity of editorial independence and nonpartisan reporting," he said in a statement.
The deal is valued at more than $1 billion, per the New York Times. Allbritton will continue as publisher of Politico and Protocol, according to the statement, while the leadership teams of both sites will remain in place and operate separately from Axel Springer's other US brands. Politico has some 700 employees in North America, while its European counterpart has almost 200. Axel Springer was established after World War II. Its company ethos includes a commitment to "democracy and a united Europe," support for the Jewish people, a rejection of extremism, and emphasis on the alliance between the US and Europe. The company is majority-owned by US investment firm KKR and publishes German newspapers such as the Bild tabloid and Welt daily.
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