Group led by Steve Jobs's widow buys majority stake in The Atlantic

Group led by Steve Jobs's widow buys majority stake in The Atlantic
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The Emerson Collective, a philanthropic initiative founded and owned Laurene Powell Jobs, is buying a majority stake of The Atlantic with the possibility for full ownership in the future.

The publication announced on Friday that its current owner, David G. Bradley, would sell much of his stake in the company to the organization run by the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Bradley will retain a minority share in the company and intends to continue running The Atlantic for three to five years, according a release from the publication.

Powell Jobs's acquisition includes the magazine, The Atlantic’s digital properties, events business and consulting services. Bradley will retain ownership of Atlantic Media, including National Journal and the digital publication Quartz.


“Against the odds, The Atlantic is prospering,” Bradley wrote in a memo published in The Atlantic. “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 said that he and his wife, Katherine, had realized that their three sons were not interested in taking over the publication and thus began their search for other potential owners. Bradley created a list of 600 potential names, but reportedly only approached Powell Jobs.

“Emerson Collective is excited to work with David, with his first-rate leadership team, and with his enormously talented staff, to ensure that The Atlantic continues to fulfill its critical mission at this critical time,” Powell Jobs said in a press release.

Powell Jobs, 53, founded the Emerson Collective in 2004. The group supports nonprofits and invests in entrepreneurial ventures primarily in the immigration and education reform spaces.

Emerson Collective’s acquisition on Friday is not its first media investment. The organization has also invested in Axios and the live journalism event series Pop-Up Magazine.

In purchasing The Atlantic, Powell Jobs joins a growing contingent of tech heavyweights investing in media. In 2012, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes bought a majority stake in the New Republic, though he eventually left after controversy over changes at the magazine. In 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post.