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: Axel Springer buys Politico and Forbes to go public by merging with a SPAC in busy media deal day

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German publishing house Axel Springer said Thursday it’s buying news site Politico for a reported price of $1 billion, while Forbes Global Media Holdings is going public through a combination with special purpose acquisition corporation Magnum Opus Acquisition Ltd. at an enterprise value of $630 million.

Private-equity firms played a leading role in both deals, given that KKR & Co. Inc.
KKR,
+0.00%

led a take-private deal for Axel Springer last year, while Forbes buyer Magnum Opus, a SPAC or blank-check company, is backed by Hong Kong firm L2 Capital Management.

In the larger of the two deals, Axel Springer will acquire Politico, which includes the remaining 50% share of its current joint venture Politico Europe, along with the tech news website Protocol from Politico founder and publisher Robert Allbritton, who will remain in his current role at the company. The Politico deal has been widely reported at $1 billion in value, but spokespeople for the two companies declined to comment.

Axel Springer will hold Politico, along with Insider and Morning Brew, in its U.S. media brand portfolio.

For its part, Washington-based Politico and its sibling brand Protocol employ more than 500 journalists.

The deal comes seven years after Axel Springer and Politico teamed up as joint venture partners on Politico Europe, a Brussels-based publication focusing on the EU.

Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner led the Politico acquisition about 18 months after Axel Springer was taken private in a deal led by KKR.

“We mutually believe in the necessity of editorial independence and nonpartisan reporting,” Döpfner said in a statement. “This is crucial for our future success and accelerated growth.” 

Forbes Global Media Holdings Inc. said it would close its combination with Magnum Opus Acquisition Ltd. by March 30.

The transaction includes $600 million of gross proceeds consisting of about $200 million of cash held in Magnum Opus’ trust account, after its IPO in March. The deal also includes $400 million of additional capital from a private placement. SPACs are shell companies that raise money in an IPO and then have two years to combine with a business or businesses.

Forbes CEO Mike Federle and other managers will remain at the helm of the 104-year-old Forbes brand.

“With this transition into a publicly traded company, Forbes will have the capital to accelerate growth,” Federle said.

The SPAC deal comes about seven years after Integrated Whale Media acquired Forbes under TC Yam, executive chairman of the Hong Kong-based firm.

Jonathan Lin, chairman and CEO of Magnum Opus and co-founder of Hong Kong-based L2 Capital Management, led the deal.

With no redemptions by the public shareholders of Magnum Opus, Forbes shareholders will own approximately 22% of the combined company at closing. Forbes will also receive up to $145 million in cash.

Shares of Magnum Opus
OPA,
+0.87%

rose 0.8% to $9.83 on Thursday.

In a third media deal, Nextstar Media Group Inc.
NXST,
-2.03%

said Aug. 20 it paid $130 million for The Hill, a political digital media platform with more than 100 journalists.

Nexstar said The Hill offers growth opportunities with its national cable news network, NewsNation.

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