Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox buys National Geographic media

21st Century Fox will purchase National Geographic’s media properties, including its iconic magazine, in a $725 million deal to create a new venture between the two companies.

All media brands will now be part of a joint venture called National Geographic Partners. Those properties include “National Geographic,” magazine, National Geographic Studios, digital and social media platforms, books, maps, children’s media and other business including e-commerce and licensing.

21st Century Fox, now headed by CEO James Murdoch, will own 73 percent of the new entity while the Society will own 27 percent. CEO Declan Moore, formerly the chief media officer for the National Geographic Society, will head up the new company. The National Geographic Society will stay a nonprofit. Murdoch told The Washington Post that there were no plans to change the magazine.

National Geographic first launched the National Geographic Channel in a partnership with Fox in 1997. A press release from National Geographic said the new venture will expand that partnership.

Gary Knell, National Geographic Society President and CEO, called the deal “another milestone for The National Geographic Society, which for much of its 127 years has sponsored groundbreaking scientists and explorers and shared the knowledge and wonder with the world, using the best and most creative media platforms of each era.”

The deal will allow National Geographic to double its investment in its science, research, and education programs, with plans in the works to create a center for high school students to study geography and the Centers of Excellence in Cartography, Journalism and Photography.