National Geographic drops non-profit model as Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox takes a majority stake

National Geographic has announced it will no longer be a non-profit operation as a result of it entering into a joint venture with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

The 127-year-old publication will receive $725m from 21st Century Fox for a 73 per cent stake in a newly formed entity entitled National Geographic Partners.

The National Geographic Society will retain a 27 per cent stake in the company now carrying a $1bn valuation. Declan Moor, chief media officer of the National Geographic Society, has been appointed chief executive of the company.

Gary Knell, first chairman of the board, which will alternate annually, 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 this work, which includes our grant making programs that support scientists and explorers around the world. “

Knoll concluded that “aligning our branded content and licensing assets is the right path”.

James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox chief executive, added: “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.”

National Geographic reaches an estimated 700m people through its media platforms, products and events.

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