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August 8, 2022updated 07 Oct 2022 7:12am

Axios sold to Cox Enterprises for $525m five years after launch

By Alexandra Turner

Axios, the US news website which prides itself on “smart brevity”, has been sold to Cox Enterprises for $525m (£435m) some five years after its launch.

The three founding members of the company – Jim VandeHei, Roy Schwartz and Mike Allen – will all become minority shareholders in Axios and stay on to oversee day-to-day decisions

Chief executive and chairman of Cox Enterprises Alex Taylor will also join the Axios board. The Axios software arm Axios HQ will become a stand-alone company run by Schwartz.

Since its launch in 2017, Axios has become an established voice in America’s news landscape regularly landing political and business exclusives. 

The site’s goal upon launch was to deliver “smart brevity” and “the clearest, smartest, most efficient and trustworthy experience for audience and advertisers alike”. This approach can be seen in the way stories are reported, with a reliance on bullet points and formatting designed to make it easier for readers to grasp the important information. 

In January, Axios launched Axios Pro which included three premium newsletters for a subscriptions of $599 a year. The newsletters cover mergers and acquisitions news in the fintech, health technology and retail sectors. 

Axios is also in the process of expanding its local reach, with VandeHei declaring his 2022 resolution was to “save local news”. Axios currently has an Axios Local brand in 24 cities and has said that the sale to Cox Enterprises will ensure investments into local news will continue. 

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Cox Enterprise CEO Taylor said: “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.”

The deal sees Axios sold at five times its projected 2022 revenue of $100m.

VandeHei said the decision to sell was spurred by Cox’s commitment to journalism and fair price.

Cox Enterprises is also the owner of The Dayton Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The deal is the latest in a string of big news mergers and acquisitions this year, notably including The New York Times’ $550m acquisition of The Athletic. 

Last month, UK-based business intelligence publisher Informa paid $389m for ten-year-old US B2B publisher Industry Dive, a ratio of just under four times its annual turnover.

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