News & Politics

Politico Plans European Expansion

How do you say "win the morning" in German, French, and Russian?

Globe photo via Shutterstock. Illustration by Benjamin Freed.

First Washington, now the world?

Politico says it is branching beyond its Arlington headquarters and exhausting coverage of US politics and launching a European edition. The seven-year-old political news website is partering with Axel Springer, a German media company that owns some of the largest newspapers in Europe, for a new operation based in Brussels to cover the continent’s politics and policy, according to a memo from CEO Jim VandeHei and editor-in-chief John Harris.

Politico Europe, as the new venture will be called, will be run as a separate enterprise from the US operation, VandeHei and Harris write, but that’s about it on details for now. Politico does not have a masthead in place yet, although the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone reported Monday that the Financial Times’s Brussels bureau chief, Peter Spiegel, turned down the opportunity to run it.

Having recently finalized the $1 billion sale of nine local television stations, including Washington’s WJLA and NewsChannel 8, Politico Publisher Robert Allbritton’s business is now built entirely around political news websites that blend rapid-fire posts with in-depth paid content. He bought Capital New York last year and took it from a free model to one that keeps the meatiest reporting behind a paywall.

VandeHei and Harris write in their memo that more details about Politico Europe will be divulged in the next few weeks, which leaves plenty of time to muse about how Politico’s maxim of “winning the morning” will play on the continent. To get you started, here’s how to say “win the morning” in a few crucial languages.

  • Gagnez le matin.
  • Gewinnen Sie den Morgen.
  • Gane la mañana.
  • Выиграйте утро
  • Vince la mattina.

Read VandeHei’s and Harris’s memo in full below (in English):

It looks like the secret is officially out: We are joining forces with Axel Springer, Europe’s largest and most powerful media company, to start a European edition of POLITICO.

This is the start of a very important project for us, and we will have many details to share in the weeks ahead.

We can tell you this is a 50-50 joint venture with Axel Springer and will cover not just Brussels but European politics and policy more broadly. There is a lot more to this new venture, and we will keep you in the loop as this proceeds.

This partnership is aimed at exploring journalistic opportunities in Europe and is being set up as a stand-alone enterprise.

Axel Springer is a highly impressive, highly ambitious company that shares our obsession with building media companies that produce and can sustain nonpartisan journalistic excellence. They do about $3.6 billion in annual revenue and house a number of digital start-ups in their Berlin-based offices. We are excited to join forces with them.

This represents Robert Allbritton’s first big move since selling the TV stations and he is extremely excited about this next phase of our growth.

A statement about the joint venture is below.


Jim and John

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.