German publishing conglomerate Axel Springer SE is in talks to purchase digital-news outlet Axios, according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would add to the company’s U.S. holdings.
Axios is seeking between $400 million and $450 million in a potential sale, according to a person familiar with a presentation to the company’s investors. There is no guarantee that Axios would receive that valuation in any eventual deal. Deal talks aren’t final and could still fall through, one of the people said, but they have gained momentum in recent weeks.
The Information earlier reported on the acquisition talks.
The media sector has been consolidating rapidly in recent months as rivals explore mergers to grow their audiences and gain additional leverage with advertisers and distributors. This week,
said they were merging their content assets, which include streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+.
Smaller companies, including Vice Media Group and BuzzFeed Inc., are each considering going public through special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Executives connected to Group Nine Media Inc., in which Axel Springer is also an investor, have launched a SPAC that aims to consolidate the digital-media sector further.
Axios, known for its scoop-laden newsletters and terse reporting style, covers subjects including politics, media, technology and finance. The company, which was previously in talks to merge with sports-focused outlet the Athletic before those discussions halted, generated more than $60 million of revenue last year and was profitable.
Axel Springer, which owns the German newspapers Bild and Die Welt, has been adding to its U.S. media holdings in recent years. The company purchased Business Insider in 2015 for about $500 million and recently bought Morning Brew, a digital publisher that has focused largely on business.
Write to Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com
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