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21st Century Fox to hold 73% stake in expanded JV with National Geographic Society

MUMBAI: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st
Century Fox and the National
Geographic Society have expanded
their 18-year-old partnership to add
National Geographic’s other digital,
media & publishing, travel and
licensing assets under the joint
The new entity will be owned 73 per
cent by 21st Century Fox and 27 per
cent by The National Geographic
Society with a shared governance
structure and equal representation on
the board of directors. The Board
Chair will alternate annually, with
National Geographic Society president
and CEO Gary Knell serving as the
first chairman.
Consideration for the transaction is
valued at $725 million. As a result,
the Society’s endowment will
significantly increase to nearly $1
The new expanded joint venture will
operate as National Geographic
Partners and will combine the
National Geographic television
channels with National Geographic’s
other media and consumer-oriented
assets, including 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,
catalogue, licensing and ecommerce
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.”
Declan Moore, a 20-year veteran of
the Society currently serving as chief
media officer, has been appointed CEO
of National Geographic Partners.
Knell said, “The expansion of our
nearly two decade partnership with
21st Century Fox is another milestone
for The National Geographic Society.
The value generated by this
transaction, including the consistent
and attractive revenue stream that
National Geographic Partners will
deliver, ensures that we will have
greater resources for work, which
includes our grant making programs
that support scientists and explorers
around the world. As media
organizations work to meet the
increasing demand for high quality
storytelling across multiple
platforms, it’s clear that the
opportunity to grow by more closely
aligning our branded content and
licensing assets is the right path. We
now will have the scale and reach to
continue to fulfil our mission long
into the future.”
The National Geographic Society is a
non-profit organisation focused on
its mission of science, exploration and
A statement mentioned that combining
these assets into one organization
will create greater opportunities to
pursue National Geographic’s mission
of increasing knowledge through
science, exploration and research.
Murdoch added, “We’re working hard
to focus our portfolio on brands that
have unquestionable consumer appeal.
This expanded partnership, bringing
together all of the media and
consumer activities under the National
Geographic umbrella, one of the most
treasured names in the world, creates
vast opportunities and enables this
business to be even more successful in
a digital environment. In addition, we
look forward to benefitting from
Declan’s leadership and his keen
ability to make the spirit of National
Geographic come to life every day
through rich storytelling across media
for millions around the world.”
Through their partnership, the
networks have owned and operated
the properties in National Geographic
Channels, a joint venture of domestic
and international cable television
channels which together reach over
500 million households globally.
The additional resources will enable
The National Geographic Society to
double its investment in an array of
science, research and education
programs. Plans include the creation
of the National Geographic Grosvenor
Center for Education, dedicated to
improving the geographic skills of high
school students, and the
establishment of Centers of
Excellence in Cartography, Journalism
and Photography, which will develop
and fund innovations in exploration,
mapping and story-telling.
NGS Board chairman and Society CEO
from 1998 until 2014 John Fahey Jr
stated, “The National Geographic
Society Board of Trustees truly
believes that this expanded
partnership with 21st Century Fox
well positions our institution for
today and for tomorrow in a way that
ensures a sustainable future, while
protecting and building upon the
legacy of our founders. Our partners
at 21st Century Fox have been
extraordinarily collaborative for
nearly two decades, and we are
certain that the future is brighter as
a result of today’s announcement.”
The National Geographic Museum,
thought leader forums, and related
programs will remain under the
Society’s purview, with the support of
a philanthropic development team.
Closing of the transaction is subject
to customary conditions. The
transaction is expected to close later
this year.

21st Century Fox to hold 73% stake in expanded JV with National Geographic Society

1 Comment

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  1. Under a joint venture called
    National Geographic Partners,
    Fox will have 73% ownership,
    while 27% will be owned by the
    National Geographic Society
    Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century
    Fox has purchased all media
    properties of National
    Geographic including the Nat
    Geo Magazine in a deal worth
    $725 million. A joint venture
    called National Geographic
    Partners has been formed,
    which will include properties
    like National Geographic
    Magazine, National Geographic
    Studios, digital and social media
    platforms, books, maps,
    children’s media and e-
    commerce and licensing.
    For 127 years, National
    Geographic has remained a
    non-profit organization. But
    now this deal makes it a for
    profit joint venture. National
    Geographic Partners will be
    have 73% ownership by Fox, and
    the National Geographic
    Society will own 27%.
    According to a report done by
    Washington Post, the iconic
    magazine took this step to stop
    further decline brought about
    by digital. Washington Post
    quotes Gary Knell, the
    society’s CEO:
    “It has become apparent that
    ensuring the future of the
    society would require
    something bold,” the society’s
    chief executive, Gary Knell,
    said at an all-staff meeting
    Wednesday. Continuing as a
    media organization and
    potentially absorbing future
    losses, he said, “presented
    enormous and real existential
    risks. We . . . truly believe the
    path we’ve chosen presents the
    greatest potential upside.”

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