Cox Enterprises has unveiled a $525 million deal to acquire Axios Media Inc.
Terms of the Axios deal were not disclosed, but Cox Enterprises said it will look to grow and expand the media startup for political and business news into more cities, covering more national topics and more premium news niches.
Cox Enterprises picked up a minority stake in Axios in fall 2021 and has now made a play for overall ownership. “Our company started in the media business, and we have always had a passion for journalism. Bringing a forward-thinking organization like Axios into Cox Enterprises is exciting for us on many levels, and we look forward to helping them continue to scale and grow,” Cox Enterprises chairman and CEO Alex Taylor, who will join the Axios board, said in a statement.
Axios co-founders Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz will retain unspecified minority ownership stakes in the company and will lead editorial and day-to-day business decisions. Axios launched in January 2017 on a formula of providing focused news coverage for a fast-changing news cycle.
Cox Enterprises is a privately-held and family-controlled media business that includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dayton Daily News and other Ohio newspapers. As part of the deal, the Axios communications software business, Axios HQ, will become an independent company majority-owned by the founders and will include Cox as sole minority investor.
Jim VandeHei will be chairman of the board of Axios HQ and Roy Schwartz will be its CEO.
“We are excited about entering into this new chapter with Cox and the opportunities we can explore with Axios HQ as a separate business. For both companies, our mission is to help as many people and companies get smarter, faster on what matters.” Roy Schwartz, president of Axios, said in a statement.
The deal for Axios is the latest purchase of an online news organizations as media giants look to bolster their news coverage networks. In 2021, Nexstar Media Group, the local TV station giant, bought the Washington D.C. news outlet The Hill for $130 million.
More recently, Politico, the digital media brand covering politics, was part of a deal to become part of German media giant Axel Springer, which in 2015 purchased Business Insider, later renamed Insider.