Nov 2, 2021 - Economy

Money flows to D.C. media companies

Beltway media company valuations
Data: Axios research; Table: Axios Visuals

D.C.-based media companies that have enjoyed a robust advocacy and corporate social responsibility ad market in the wake of the pandemic are seeing valuations rise.

Driving the news: Axios on Monday told staffers in an internal note that the company raised a series D funding round from Cox Enterprises, Inc., valuing the company at $430 million. Axios will bring in roughly $85 million in revenue in 2021.

  • The investment signals that the company is looking to grow independently after sales talks ended with German publishing giant Axel Springer.
  • Axel Springer closed on its deal to buy Politico for roughly $1 billion two weeks ago. Politico sold for a multiple of 5x its annual revenue, which is roughly $200 million.
  • The Hill sold to Nexstar over the summer for $130 million, roughly 3x its 2020 annual revenue of $40 million.

Flashback: In 2013, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million.

  • Three years ago, CQ Roll Call sold to FiscalNote for $180 million. As Axios noted, FiscalNote was at one point looking to go public via a blank check company at a valuation well north of $1 billion.

What to watch: Punchbowl News is on its way towards building a small D.C. empire.

  • In a memo to investors obtained by Axios, the company's founders say they've locked down a space for its HQ near Capitol Hill.
  • The company is "in the early stages of planning a new editorial business next year" and is overhauling its website and CMS.
  • The memo confirms a Wall Street Journal report that Punchbowl will bring in more than $10 million in revenue in 2021.
  • The company says paid subscriptions account for more than $1 million of its total revenue. The company also sells advertising and events.
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