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  • Axel Springer is set to acquire Politico in a deal that values the US political news website at more than US$1 billion (A$1.36 billion)
  • The deal is expected to close by the end of the year and Politico’s current owner, Robert Allbritton, will continue as publisher
  • Separately, Forbes has revealed its intentions to go public through a US$630 million (A$871 million) merger
  • New York-based BuzzFeed also agreed to a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger in June, while Vox Media is reported to be pursuing a similar deal

Axel Springer is set to acquire Politico in a deal that values the US political news website at more than US$1 billion (A$1.36 billion).

The two companies unveiled the deal on Thursday, marking the largest acquisition for the German publisher to date as it works to stitch together a global network of digital news operations.

The deal, in which Axel Springer will also purchase the remaining 50 per cent stake of its joint venture Politico Europe, follows its 2015 acquisition of Business Insider and a 2020 agreement to buy a majority stake in business newsletter platform Morning Brew.

Politico’s current owner Robert Allbritton will continue as the publisher of the website following completion of the deal, which is expected to occur by the end of this year.

Politico was founded ahead of the 2008 US presidential election by former reporters from the Washington Post, who aimed to cover Washington and the broader political environment with the pace, analysis and rigour of sports journalism.

Axel Springer already owns a substantial portfolio of news outlets, including Bild, Welt and Insider, and is active in more than 40 countries. US private equity investor KKR, which owns a 48 per cent stake in Axel Springer, has been building up its stable of media assets through the German media conglomerate.

Axel Springer had also been set to acquire Axios, which was founded by Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei, but that was no longer the case according to two sources who spoke to CNBC.

It’s been a big year for publishers around the world already. On Thursday, Forbes revealed its intentions to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) firm that values the combined entity at roughly US$630 million (A$871 million).

Founded in 1917, the New Jersey-based Forbes will merge with Hong Kong-based Magnum Opus Acquisition Ltd, an SPAC led by Jonathan Lin, a former executive at billionaire Steven Cohen’s Point72.

With print revenue sliding, Forbes has been doubling down on live events, and leveraging its brand and reader base to build consumer products in areas such as education and e-commerce. It reported US$163 million (A$225 million) in revenue in 2020 and expects it to grow to US$193 million (A$267 million) this year.

New York-based BuzzFeed also agreed to a SPAC merger in June, while Vox Media is reported to be pursuing a similar deal.

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