Happy Hour News
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but Axios —the outlet with the strange emboldening and enigmatic bullet usage— has agreed to sell to Cox Enterprises of Atlanta in a deal valued at $525 million.
From their afternoon email thingie we get only 2 bullets:
What it means for our readers: more great Axios journalism.
- Axios management will maintain control of editorial direction and day-to-day operations.
- Cox also plans an investment of $25 million in Axios journalism, including national coverage, Axios Local and Axios Pro.
That is smart brevity, as Axios likes to say, so we now turn elsewhere to find out some context:
Axios, the digital media company founded by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, has sold to Cox Enterprises for more than a half billion dollars.
Cox Enterprises is a publicly traded media conglomerate that was founded on ownership of local newspapers. Today its subsidies include cable provider Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group.
Axios recently has been creating verticals for major American cities. Seattle even has one, and that sounds like Cox’ original bidness plan: local newspapers. Let your imaginations run wild with 3-bullet journalism coming to your town.
But this is the ‘graph that caught my attention:
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. VandeHei will be chairman of the board of Axios HQ and Schwartz will be its CEO.
So there is some possibility that Vandehei might make yet a third killing off of his one idea.
As you may recall, VandeHei also co-founded Politico, which sold for $1 billion to the very conservative German company Axel Springer last year after he had departed for Axios. Mike ‘Payola’ Allen was Politico’s first hire and Schwartz was Politico’s former chief revenue officer, so they’ve been making serious bank off of following VandeHei.
But what about Cox, you ask, and yeah, that name is familiar. Cox owns the third largest cable company, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other Ohio newspapers. It sold control over the vast majority of its media assets in 2019 to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which is basically another Vulture Capitol company.
It’s not that I expect Axios to fall to Apollo to be strip-mined eventually, but let’s just say it became a possibility.