LINKAGE: Murdoch Buys National Geographic, Rejected Bid for LA Times, MultiCulti Firm Macro Gets Funding…
Below some major news in the marketing and media world.
Fox Buys Majority in National Geographic Magazine and Cable: Will Climate Change Deniers get a Shot in the Arm?
The 127-year-old nonprofit National Geographic Society has struck a $725 million deal that gives 21st Century Fox a majority stake in National Geographic magazine and other media properties, expanding an existing TV partnership. The agreement will give the company controlled by Rupert Murdoch's family a 73 percent stake in the new National Geographic Partners venture. The National Geographic Society retains 27 percent ownership. The move shifts the longtime nonprofit flagship magazine into a for-profit venture. The arrangement brings together National Geographic's magazine with its cable channels and other media businesses. This is the second major deal announced in the last 10 days which puts together TV and magazine assets, the other one being the acquisition of Meredith Corporation by Media General. National Geographic originally partnered with Fox in 1997 to launch the National Geographic Channel. Officials said aligning the various media brands will help fuel future growth. In the Hispanic market, NatGeo-MundoFox (now MundoMax) ad sales are operated by Fox Hispanic Media. "This expanded partnership, bringing together all of the media and consumer activities under the National Geographic umbrella creates vast opportunities and enables this business to be even more successful in a digital environment," said James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, in announcing the deal. Al Jazeera (Fox purchases National Geographic for Infotainment Synergyy) has another take: Rupert Murdoch’s high-profile purchase of National Geographic — perhaps the most esteemed remaining icon of middlebrow American print culture — has touched off alarms over how the swashbuckling Australian press lord may visit a Fox News makeover on the science monthly...Murdoch’s acquisition of a 73 percent share of National Geographic — for a cool $725 million — is especially troubling to the cause of climate science, since the National Geographic Society (founded as a nonprofit foundation for exploration and research) administers a $1 billion grant program to research scientists."
Tribune Rejects Offer and Appoints new Publisher for LAT
Tribune Publishing has rejected an overture by Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad, a friend of the just ousted Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner, to buy the Los Angeles Times from Tribune and take the paper private with Beutner in charge. The move which would have left Tribune Publishing as a much smaller company, was rejected by the board, which includes Eddy Hartenstein, the former Times publisher and Tribune CEO who brought Beutner into the paper, LA Observed reports. As a result of the failed attempt to buy the Los Angeles Times, Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin ousted Beutner who will be replaced by Tim Ryan, until recently publisher of The Baltimore Sun. Tribune Publishing owns Spanish-language publications including Hoy Los Angeles, Hoy Chicago as well as San Diego's Enlace.
Multiculti Production Firm Macro gets Funding
Macro, a media production and distribution venture launched earlier this year, announced a successful eight figure funding round backed by high profile investors including Laurene Powell-Jobs, widow of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, TheVideoInk reports. Other backers include Citibank investment chief and Macro advisor Raymond J. McGuire, tech entrepreneur/investor Justin Yoshimura, and Michael Kane of Caltius Capital. Introduced in early 2015 by former WME agent Charles King, Macro is focused on producing film, TV and digital content for African-American, Latino and other multicultural audiences. The funding round was led by The Emerson Collective, a venture group founded by Powell-Jobs to seek out and support social entrepreneurs. The Emerson Collective favors investments in companies and founders who are innovating ways to create avenues for social and economic mobility.
French|West|Vaughan acquires 50% Stake in Hispanic Shop
Raleigh-based French|West|Vaughan has acquired a 50 percent stake in RGAA PR, a Hispanic PR and marketing shop, to pave its way into that fast-growing category, according to O'Dwyer's report. Staffers of the firm founded in 2011 by Raul Gonzalez will move into F|W|V's Madison Ave. office. RGAA represents EA Sports, marketer of FIFA, Need for Speed and UFC video games; Sega Sports Interactive's Football Manager franchise, and Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls. The firm's Alexander Stuart, a former MLS staffer and executive for the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, will join F|W|V as head of its sports marketing practice. Stuart will report to Jack Glasure, president of F/W/V's entertainment offering, while Gonzalez will coordinate with CEO Rick French.F|W|V also has scooped up the music and entertainment business of ex-Big Hassle Media publicist Seven Trachtenbroit. He becomes the shop's artist & entertainment director and brings clients such as The Backstreet Boys, Danny Gokey (American Idol finalist), indie band The Dears, singer/songwriter Emily King, Colorado Springs-based CW Botanicals and its Charlotte's Web line of hemp products and Uphoric TV digital network featuring coverage of the global music festival circuit.