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Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Hill, a Beltway-based print publication that receives significant national traffic to its digital website, is being more aggressively shopped by its owner Jimmy Finkelstein, sources tell Axios.

  • It’s held recent talks with broadcasting giant Nexstar Media Group, a source tells Axios.

Why it matters: Finkelstein has held talks for years about offloading the publication, but sources who have been recently pitched on the sale say those talks have gotten more serious amid a ripe deals market and as Finkelstein looks to capitalize on the outlet's success during the Trump-era boom.

  • Sources say The Hill brings in over $20 million in annual revenue. Most of that revenue comes from digital advertising and branded content. It makes a few million annually from events.
  • Another source disputes that number, and says that revenue last year was about double that.
  • Two sources say revenues and profits right now are historically high for the outlet. One source notes that there's been an aggressive focus on revenue for the past year as sale talks have become more serious.
  • "The Hill gets lots of offers and inquiries and doesn't comment on these sorts of things," a spokesperson told Axios.
  • A spokesperson for Nextstar said, "As a general rule and a matter of policy, we never comment on speculation about M&A."

Catch up quick: Finkelstein co-founded a media holding group that purchased outlets like Adweek, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter from Nielsen in 2009. He was bought out of that investment in 2013.

  • He came under fire in 2019 for his ties to former President Trump and a scandal at his paper involving former Hill executive and opinion writer John Solomon.
  • A series of Solomon's columns were criticized for containing unsubstantiated claims involving President Biden and his son's connections to Ukraine. The Hill eventually probed the situation and conceded mistakes were made in the way it handled some of Solomon's columns.

Between the lines: The Hill, which was co-founded by Finkelstein's father in 1994, launched as a newspaper and has since expanded aggressively into digital. It's faced increasing pressure over the past 15 years as upstarts launched and expanded to cover D.C. and politics.

  • Despite increased competition, The Hill often receives more monthly unique visitors to its site than most of its Beltway peers, per Comscore.
  • The Hill received roughly 35 million unique visitors in April, compared to roughly 29 million for Politico and roughly 500,000 for Roll Call.
  • Beginning around 2015, The Hill changed its strategy to focus more on attracting large, national audiences through social media distribution, instead of just niche Beltway readers.

Editor's note: This article was updated after publishing to add the source who disputed the revenue number.

Go deeper

Jun 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Katie Hill cites duality in sex-scandal outcomes

Former Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) tells “Axios on HBO” she thinks her sex scandal was “politically survivable” and she's contemplating another run for Congress.

Why it matters: Hill cites a duality in outcomes for women and men. "Having seen other people who've had scandals since I left, [Andrew] Cuomo and, you know, of course, Matt Gaetz ... you see that and, of course, they don't resign," Hill said.

Bezos beats Branson in space billionaires' battle for attention

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Imtiyaz Shaikh (Anadolu Agency), Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos' flight into space generated more interest from the public than Richard Branson's, and both billionaires overshadowed their respective space companies.

Why it matters: Data shows an outsized public interest in the personalities at the center of the space trips, compared to the companies behind them — which could reinforce public suspicion that the ventures were partly vanity plays.

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.

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