National Geographic, the storied exploration foundation that is set to become a majority-owned unit of 21st Century Fox in November, is expected to lay off “less than 10%” of its 2000-employee workforce, the soon-to-be parent company said in a statement Tuesday.
“The entities combined have about 2,000 employees, and all staff have been advised as to their status as of closing. Involuntary separations will represent less than 10% of the overall workforce reduction, many in National Geographic Society shared services and a voluntary separation offer has also been made to eligible employees,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement.
Fox and National Geographic in September unveiled a deal that would make the non-profit, known for its yellow-bordered magazine and non-fiction-based cable networks focused on exploration, nature and animals, a for-profit venture that is 73% owned by the media company.
Under the $725 million deal, The National Geographic Society will own 27% of the combined venture. The pact is slated to close in mid-November. The Society is to continue as a non-profit, with an enhanced endowment of nearly $1 billion – said to be double the current amount.
The layoffs will affect the unit’s media properties minimally, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person put the size of the employee base affected at around 9%.
At the time of the deal’s announcement, James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox, said in remarks to National Geographic that the pact created “an expanded canvas for the National Geographic brand to grow and reach customers in new ways, and to reach new customers.”