Walt Disney has laid off employees of the National Geographic unit it acquired from the former 21st Century Fox, according to two people familiar with the matter, as it seeks to more fully combine the companies it purchased with its existing business.
As many as 70 to 80 National Geographic employees could be affected, according to one of these people. Disney has elected to take some operations of National Geographic – including its live-event, travel and publishing operations – and move them to parts of the company that already handle those businesses.
National Geographic’s famous flagship magazine will still continue to operate, one of these people said, but the company will no longer publish the U.S. editions of National Geographic Traveler, which has been available since 1984. Some of its content is likely to be folded into the main publication, this person said.
Disney has been working to absorb the former Fox operations for weeks after closing a $71.3 billion deal for the Fox cable-programming and studio operations.
The move would appear to leave National Geographic as more of a TV-centric operation, focused on its U.S. and overseas cable networks.