Cox Enterprises scoops up Axios for $525 million

Cox Communications parent company Cox Enterprises inked a deal to acquire well-known news outlet Axios for more than half a billion dollars, in a move the former pitched as part of an effort to diversify its business.

As part of the transaction, Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor will join Axios’ board. Axios co-founders Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz will lead editorial operations and retain “substantial stakes” in the company, according to a press release. Axios HQ, the company’s communications software business, will be spun out into an independent company which will be majority-owned by VandeHei, Allen and Schwartz, with Cox a minority stakeholder.

Though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the press release, Axios pegged the sale price at  $525 million.

The move comes after Cox Enterprises invested an undisclosed amount in Axios in November 2021 as part of the latter’s Series D funding round. That round reportedly valued the company at $430 million.

Earlier this year, Axios laid out plans to expand its local news coverage across the U.S., adding 11 more cities to the 14 it already covered as of January. Cox said it is committed to the outlet’s plans to scale its coverage.

Cox Enterprises already owns a number of other media outlets, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dayton Daily News and other Ohio newspapers.

“Our company started in the media business, and we have always had a passion for journalism,” Taylor said in a statement. “Bringing a forward-thinking organization like Axios into Cox Enterprises is exciting for us on many levels, and we look forward to helping them continue to scale and grow."

In addition to Cox Communications, Cox Enterprises also owns Cox Automotive and is working to build business in the clean technology, healthcare and e-sports segments.