National Geographic Sold to 21st Century Fox

Posted on 9/10/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The New York Times reports that the National Geographic Society have been sold to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox for $725 million.

Fox will own 73 percent of the new venture, called National Geographic Partners, and the National Geographic Society will own 27 percent. The two owners will have equal representation on the board and share governance.

The deal encompasses the National Geographic Channels cable television group along with National Geographic Magazine, as well as the book, map and other properties.

At its peak in the late 1980s domestic circulation of National Geographic Magazine was 12 million copies. That has declined to 3.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and another 3 million abroad through non-English-language editions.

The deal faced immediate questions over how that science-driven mission of National Geographic would fare given its 21st Century Fox ownership. Scientists have disputed comments about climate change made by Rupert Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s executive chairman. Mr. Murdoch recently said on Twitter that he was a “climate change skeptic, not a denier,” adding that the United Nations would meet in New York with “endless alarmist nonsense.”

Some staffers are concerned about how being part of a $29 billion publically owned company may change the future editorial direction of the magazine. The Washington Post reports that, “The one-word reaction from one of the magazine’s journalists: ‘Dread.’” Staffers point to the Murdock-owned tabloids New York Post and Britian’s Sun. But, it has also been pointed out that Murdoch’s purchase of the Wall Street Journal in 2007 hasn’t hurt that newspaper’s quality.

The transaction is expected to close at the end of the year. There is no word on whether it will lead to layoffs. For more information, check out the New York Times story here.

Copyright © 2015 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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