In a memo to the staff of The Atlantic, chairman and owner David Bradley writes that he started looking for a buyer when he realized his sons were not interested in owning a media company. (Axios, which was backed by both the Emerson Collective and Bradley, obtained the memo.)
Bradley, who is 64, says he will still own “a large share” of the 160-year-old magazine, though it’s “likely” that he will sell his remaining stake to Emerson in three to five years. He also remains the full owner of the other Atlantic Media properties, including Quartz.
Peter Lattman (previously the media editor at The New York Times) will become vice chairman of The Atlantic. Other than that, it sounds like the magazine’s leadership will not be changing.
Emerson Collective is Powell Jobs’ philanthropic organization, with a mission focused on “education, immigration reform, the environment, and other social justice initiatives,” but it’s also backed tech and media startups such as Udacity.
Powell Jobs (the widow of Apple’s Steve Jobs) isn’t the first big name from the tech industry to buy a venerable media company — The New Republic had a tumultuous run under Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, while Amazon’s Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post back in 2013.
Bradley alludes to Powell Jobs’ Silicon Valley connection in the closing lines of his memo: “What I loved about Laurene from the first is that her confidence was forged on a different coast. And, if anything, her ambition is greater than my own. So, let’s make it our work to prove the wisdom of our era wrong.”