National Geographic magazine, the longtime standard-bearer of environmental journalism, will soon be known as a for-profit enterprise after nearly a century and a half as a nonprofit.
The change comes as Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox expands its ownership of National Geographic properties to a 73 percent majority stake in a $725 million deal. The National Geographic Society will own the remaining 27 percent as a minority shareholder.
The NGS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.
A board of equal members from both Fox and Nat Geo will run the entity under the name National Geographic Partners, according to a report from Variety. Gary Knell, current president and CEO of the NGS, will be the board's first chairman.
Because 21st Century Fox is a publicly traded company, the majority ownership of the magazine and other NGS assets will effectively end their function as nonprofit enterprises. The Society itself will remain a nonprofit, however.
The deal, expected to close later this year, expands an 18-year-old partnership between the two media companies. The Society's endowment will increase to nearly $1 billion and a press release said the resources will "basically double its investment in an array of science, research and education programs."
"We now will have scale and reach to continue to fulfill our mission long into the future," Declan Moore, chief media officer and newly appointed CEO of National Geographic Partners, said in the release. "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 magazine was first published in 1888. The Society now reaches more than 700 million people each month via print, television, social media and other platforms.
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