Axios has agreed to sell itself to Cox Enterprises for $525 million. The deal comes months after Cox Enterprises became Axios’ lead investor. Axios was close to a deal with Axel Springer last year but could not reach an agreement. Both companies expressed their excitement about the merger in their press releases on Monday.
Cox Enterprises is a family-owned business based in Atlanta, Georgia, with extensive communications and automotive subsidiaries. Axios is a digital media company that launched in 2017 and is based in Arlington County, Virginia. Axios is committed to growing its coverage of local news across the country; the news site is currently featured in 24 U.S. cities with hopes to see that number jump to 30 by the end of 2022.
With the help of this deal, Axios hopes to expand into hundreds of U.S. cities, “A big part of this investment is to expand the number of local markets we serve. Local watchdog journalism is so important to the health of any community, and no one is more focused on building that out nationally than Axios,” Cox chairman and CEO Alex Taylor said.
Axios’ software business, Axios HQ, will become an independent company with Jim VandeHei as chairman of the board and President of Axios Roy Schwartz as CEO. Cox will have one board seat on Axios HQ. While Cox Enterprises’ media companies, like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Dayton Daily News, will sit unaffected by the acquisition.
However, Cox will take over the board for Axios’ media sector with four board seats. Axios’ co-founders, VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz, will remain on board. Both companies confirmed that these three would continue to lead the day-to-day business as usual.
While conditions at both companies are set to improve and expand, no significant transition is expected. Roy Schwartz, President of Axios, said, “We are excited about entering 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.”