National Geographic Positions Itself For The Future By Inking Partnership With 21st Century Fox

National Geographic is abandoning its nonprofit status and becoming a key part of a new venture between its parent organization and 21st Century Fox. The magazine will be a major part of a new company called National Geographic partners. Fox will own 73% of the company, while the National Geographic Society will own the other 23%. The deal values at $725 million.

The ownership proportions are similar to the ownership split of National Geographic’s television channels. The new deal is referred to as an extension of that partnership, which began 18 years ago.

More than 500 million homes have access to the National Geographic Channel.

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch said, “We are privileged to have the opportunity to expand our partnership to continue to bring to audiences around the world, ‘The world and all that is in it,’ as National Geographic Society’s second president Alexander Graham Bell stated more than a century ago. We believe in the Society’s mission of bringing the world to audiences through science, education and exploration.”

Chief media office of National Geographic Declan Moore will lead the new media company as its CEO. Moore is a 20 year veteran of National Geographic. The CEO of the National Geographic Society Gary Knell will remain in his current position. Knell said, “We will now have the scale and reach to fulfill our mission long into the future. The Society’s work will be the engine that feeds our content creation efforts, enabling us to share that work with even larger audiences and achieve more impact. It’s a virtuous cycle.”

National Geographic Partners plans to combine the National Geographic cable channels with a list of media properties. According to a news release, these media properties include: National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities, including travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, and licensing and ecommerce businesses.

Upon the completion of the deal, the value of the National Geographic Society’s endowment will increase to nearly $1 billion.

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