Emerson Collective, the organization run by the late Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs, has acquired a majority ownership in The Atlantic for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition includes The Atlantic’s flagship magazine, digital properties, live events business and consulting services. According to a memo circulated Friday, David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media, will continue to run The Atlantic for at least the next three to five years.
The publication’s leadership — president Bob Cohn, publisher Hayley Romer and editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg — will continue to run the company’s day-to-day operations. There are also no plans for layoffs or to relocate the company’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, a spokeswoman said. Emerson Collective managing director of media Peter Lattman, who decamped from The New York Times last year, will add the role of vice chairman of The Atlantic.
Michael Finnegan will continue as president of Atlantic Media, which includes Quartz, National Journal Group and Government Executive Media Group. Those properties will remain under Bradley, who said he has been looking for a strategic partner to steer the business in the coming years.
In a memo to staff, Bradley wrote:
“I don’t think you will see any material changes in your lives; we all continue in our same roles. But, now 64 years old, I find my gaze casting further forward. Laurene and I have settled on a plan that, as I approach 70, Emerson Collective will take full ownership of The Atlantic and she serve in my stead as leader of the enterprise. Against the odds, The Atlantic is prospering. While I will stay at the helm some years, the most consequential decision of my career now is behind me: Who next will take stewardship of this 160-year-old national treasure? To me, the answer, in the form of Laurene, feels incomparably right.”
Bradley, who purchased The Atlantic in 1999, said that Powell Jobs first became interested in the prospects of ownership in January after the two had a meeting in D.C.
Powell Jobs offered: “What a privilege it is to partner with David Bradley and become a steward of The Atlantic, one of the country’s most important and enduring journalistic institutions. The Atlantic was cofounded 160 years ago by a group of abolitionists including Ralph Waldo Emerson, who is a primary inspiration for our own work at Emerson Collective. Emerson and his partners, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, created a magazine whose mission was to bring about equality for all people; to illuminate and defend the American idea; to celebrate American culture and literature; and to cover our marvelous, and sometimes messy, democratic experiment.”
She added that The Atlantic will continue its “critical mission at this critical time.” Powell Jobs will introduce herself to The Atlantic staff in New York and D.C. in September.
Founded in 2004, Emerson Collective is led by Powell Jobs, 53, and centers its work on education, immigration reform, the environment and other social justice initiatives. The organization has a portfolio of media investments and grants, ranging from film and television production companies to nonprofit journalism organizations.