“Unheard-of” billion-dollar deal: Why the Politico acquisition is worthwhile for Axel Springer

2 min readSep 1, 2021

According to several media reports, the Axel Springer Group will pay one billion US dollars for the acquisition of Politico. German observers talk about an “unheard-of” price. No question: Springer is spending a lot of money for this acquisition. But for CEO Mathias Döpfner, the company’s value lies not only in journalism.

By Marvin Schade

Business journalists in the U.S. are waging their own price war: Almost every reporter covering Axel Springer’s takeover of Politico claims to have found a source who knows the value of the deal. Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Financial Times mention the price of about one billion US dollars, some want to have heard a lower one.

Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner does not talk about figures. Perhaps because the sum is really so astronomically high, or to make the company seem worth so much, at least at this moment. Possibly also because it’s not so much about the money. While observers like the media editors at Der Spiegel only recognize an “almost unheard-of price”, Döpfner is buying more than “a handful of newsletters”. For Axel Springer, the value of the company lies not only in journalism.

Springer buys credibility

Skeptics feared the sellout of journalism after the entry of U.S. investor KKR. The company’s withdrawal from large parts of Eastern Europe (where Döpfner still appeared combative after the murder of Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak) recently confirmed their fears. The fact that Springer is now investing this money, as well as liquid assets from the partial sale of the French Classified business, in journalism is not likely to silence these skeptics, but it will probably appease them. Journalism still has a meaning at Springer.

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