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Politico buys New York City site in digital expansion

(Reuters) - Robert Allbritton, owner and publisher of political news website Politico, has purchased the Capital New York website that covers New York City news, Politico announced on Monday.

The move is the latest in a series of expansions for Allbritton's Politico, which covers political news in Washington DC and has become a serious challenger to traditional inside the beltway publications since it launched in 2007.

"I have very big ambitions for Capital: to do in New York what we did in Washington with Politico," Allbritton said in a statement.

Capital was founded three years ago by Josh Benson and Tom McGeveran, two veterans of the influential New York Observer newspaper. The news site covers media, culture, politics and business in New York City and New York State.

Benson said Capital, which will operate as a standalone company, will expand the staff hiring more than two dozen people and sharpen coverage with a relaunch of the site this fall.

"It's a massive thing for us, obviously, to be able to draw on the expertise and financial backing of Robert Allbritton," he said in a statement.

Benson and McGeveran will continue to run Capital day to day as co-editors. Jim VandeHei, the co-founder and executive editor, will serve as president as well as continue his role at Politico.

The Allbritton family recently sold its stable of TV stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group for almost $1 billion in order to invest and focus on digital media.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; editing by Andrew Hay)

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