When Bradley began more than a year ago considering future owners of The Atlantic, he researched more than 600 possible investors. Powell Jobs and Emerson Collective were at the top of the list and the only prospect he approached.
“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,” said Powell Jobs. “The Atlantic was co-founded 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, “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."
Peter Lattman, managing director of media at Emerson Collective, will become vice chairman of The Atlantic. He will continue in his role at Emerson.
Emerson Collective is an organization dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so people can live to their full potential. Established and led by Powell Jobs, 53, it centers its work on education, immigration reform, the environment and other social justice initiatives. Emerson Collective has a substantial portfolio of media investments and grants, ranging from film and television production companies to nonprofit journalism organizations.
The partnership between Atlantic Media and Emerson Collective – the terms of which will not be disclosed – comes at a time of significant growth and success for The Atlantic. In the eighteen years since acquiring the flagship magazine from Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Bradley has led the company through a sustained surge in both its editorial and business operations. Digital readership has grown from two million in early 2009 to a monthly average of 33 million unique visitors for the first half of 2017. The company, which early in Bradley’s ownership recorded losses of more than $10 million a year, now, generates profits well above $10 million per year.
In recent years, The Atlantic has transformed its business in response to convulsions in the media world. A decade ago, 85 percent of the company's revenues came from print advertising and print circulation. Since then, revenues have quadrupled while the sources of those funds have flipped: 20 percent of revenue now comes from print, with 80 percent from digital advertising, the AtlanticLive events business, and the Atlantic Media Strategies consulting services.