Politico sold to German publisher Axel Springer

Axel Springer has struck a deal to purchase Politico, the German publisher announced on Thursday. 

As part of the deal, Axel Springer will receive the remaining 50 percent share of its current joint venture, Politico Europe, as well as the tech news website Protocol from current Politico owner Robert Allbritton.

The acquisition of Arlington, Va.-based political news outlet will "complement and strengthen Axel Springer’s portfolio with an authoritative voice offering inside perspective and analysis of politics and policy in Washington D.C., across the U.S., and around the globe," Axel Springer said in an announcement of the deal

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The two companies did not disclose the price of sale, but several reports have suggested the deal was for upward of $1 billion. 

“Politico's outstanding team has disrupted digital political journalism and set new standards," said Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfne. "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.”

Allbritton said his time owning the politics and policy news brand "has been the ride of a lifetime."

"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," he said.

"As I have often said, I would only welcome a new investor that reflected my values and Politico 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.”  

The sale comes as Politico works to further spread its influence and footprint across the Washington, D.C., and international media landscape. 

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Late last year, the company acquired E&E News, a niche political outlet covering energy and the environment. With rumors of an impending sale swirling in recent weeks, Axios reported earlier this month some staffers at Politico have been mulling the idea of unionization. 

The company now employs more than 700 people in the U.S. and Europe, publishing an average of 3,000 stories and driving 54 million unique visitors to its website each month.

Updated at 9:25 a.m.