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Axios to sell itself to Cox Enterprises for $525 million

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Jim VandeHei, Co-Founder and CEO of Axios speaks on the 2022 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, May 3, 2022.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Axios is being acquired by Cox Enterprises, the businesses said Monday, with plans to expand the digital news site’s coverage into more cities.

The deal values Axios at $525 million, in keeping with people acquainted with the matter, who asked to not be named because financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Axios co-founders Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz will remain on the corporate’s board and proceed to administer its day-to-day operations, the businesses said in a release. Cox Enterprises Chairman and CEO Alex Taylor will join the Axios board.

Cox, which is privately held in and based in Atlanta, had previously invested in Axios in fall 2021. The corporate ramped up talks to purchase Axios several months ago, intrigued by the corporate’s push into local journalism, VandeHei said in an interview. Axios, which focuses heavily on politics and business news, launched in 2017 and offers local coverage of cities including Austin, Boston and Seattle, in keeping with its website.

“We were on the lookout for two things: a buyer that was authentically committed for the very long run to serious media, and someone who was advantageous with us being on top of things for a very long time,” VandeHei said. “That is not because we’re boastful but because now we have a transparent mind about what a very good journalism business looks like.”

Axios never hired a banker and only spoke with Cox a couple of sale, moderately than soliciting other buyers, said VandeHei, who described the deal as “nice and simple,” with talks escalating over the past few months. Axios had previously held talks to sell to Axel Springer and to merge with The Athletic, which The Latest York Times bought earlier this 12 months.

That is the second time VandeHei has founded a media company that sold for greater than $500 million. He co-founded Politico, which sold for $1 billion to Axel Springer last 12 months after VandeHei had departed for Axios. Allen was Politico’s first hire and Schwartz was Politico’s former chief revenue officer.

Cox owns cable and automotive businesses. It also owns The Atlanta Journal Structure, the Dayton Each day News and other Ohio newspapers, which the corporate said will proceed to operate independently. It sold control over the overwhelming majority of its media assets in 2019 to personal equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Axios HQ, the corporate’s software component, will grow to be a separate entity led by Schwartz, president of Axios.

“We’re enthusiastic about getting into this recent chapter with Cox and the opportunities we are able to explore with Axios HQ as a separate business,” Schwartz said.

Disclosure: CNBC parent company NBCUniversal invested in Axios.

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