Why Axios got sold for $525 million

Just one strategic lynchpin drives the value of the entire business.

'Nobody reads anymore' - this is the insight that sparked the idea for a new kind of news agency.

With information flooding the world, the reality is that most people share stuff on social media that they haven't even read themselves.

Lots of people read a few lines of something that may have looked interesting - and then get distracted, and forget about what they were doing before.

Axios - a five-year old online media brand - was sold for $525 million (a valuation far higher than what their current financial performance dictates), because they cracked the code on how to communicate the news effectively to people without wasting their time.

Their system of Smart Brevity - cutting content right down to the bare bones so that it's more readable, is the strategic lynchpin that drives the value of the entire business.

That's all it is - brilliantly-packaged news for distracted people.

Why is this story important?

  • The success of Axios is proof that a clear, single-minded strategy is what makes the difference between a failing media business and one that works.
  • It's not only journalists that are struggling to get their message across in a distracted, noisy world - everyone needs to follow the Smart Brevity advice.

What's the take away for strategists?

  • Running a business without clear understanding of what your core value proposition is, is suicide; yet so many brands fail to get this right. Achieving this kind of clarity requires trade-offs and pissing more than a few people off, but the result is success.
  • Good strategy is getting your cohesive actions to target just one challenge - not a laundry list of wishful thinking - just one problem / opportunity.

Here's more:

Axios sells for $525 million, to a company that seemed to be getting out of the media business
Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises has spent the past decade selling off most of its media properties as it brings in billions from cable. So why dive back in?