Hughes, who was one of Mark Zuckerberg’s roommates, was reported to be interested in buying the left-of-centre magazine back in January as it hunted for investors.
Hughes, who is said to be worth around $700m on the back of co-founding Facebook, has a record of being active on the US liberal left and previously helped to run the online organising for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign.
Mr. Hughes’s purchase of a majority stake in the magazine will be announced on Friday, once again remaking the masthead of the nearly century-old magazine that helped define modern American liberalism.
His focus, he said in an interview in advance of the announcement, will be on distributing the magazine’s long-form journalism through tablet computers like the iPad. Though he does not intend to end the printed publication, “five to 10 years from now, if not sooner, the vast majority of The New Republic readers are likely to be reading it on a tablet,” he said.
Mr. Hughes, 28, will become publisher and the editor in chief of the magazine, and Richard Just will remain the editor. Martin Peretz, who was editor in chief from 1975 until 2010, when his title was changed to editor in chief emeritus, will become a member of the magazine’s advisory board, the New York Times reports.