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21st Century Fox Acquires National Geographic for $725M


James Mudroch led 21st Century Fox has acquired National Geographic for $725 million deal, in a bid to expand their 18-year old partnership and create a joint venture called National Geographic Partners with veteran Declan Moore as the CEO. 21st Century Fox will hold 73% of the new entity while 27 % of it will be owned by the National Geographic Society.

The National Geographic Society will continue to be a non-profit organisation, and the acquisition will allow it to double its investment in science, research and education programs. Its future plans include creating a National Geographic Grosvenor Center for Education to improve the geographic skills of high school students, establishing Centers of Excellence in Cartography, Journalism and Photography to develop and fund innovations. Additionally, the National Geographic Museum will continue to be under the Society.

National Geographic Partners will combine the National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and assets including National Geographic magazines, National Geographic Studios, digital & social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and activities like travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. The board chair will alternate annually; while Gary Knell, president of the NatGeo Society and CEO will be the board’s first chairman.

In June 2013, Rupert Murdoch officially split his empire into two separate companies, separating News Corp’s print entities from its broadcast and entertainment operations which got housed under 21st Century Fox.

Fox’s previous acquisitions and transactions:
In December last year, 21st Century Fox acquired the online advertising technology firm TrueX for $200 million. TrueX operates as a standalone company and works with media companies across the industry, and its clients have included Toyota, Microsoft, Pandora, Fox Broadcasting, Drama Fever, etc. For fiscal 2015, 21st Century Fox reported revenues of $29 billion, a 9% decrease from 2014.

Time Warner: In June 2014, 21st Century Fox made an attempt to acquire Time Warner for $80 billion in cash plus stock deal. However, the deal was rejected by the latter’s board of directors. In August 2014, 21st Century Fox officially withdrew the bid.

Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland: In July 2014 the company sold Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland to BSkyB for $9 billion. 21st Century Fox planned to use the amount, along with $25 billion from Goldman Sachs, to make another go at Time Warner.

Image Credit: Flickr user Javier Aroche

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