Black-Owned Equity Firm Buys Ebony and Jet Magazines

By Sameer Rao Jun 16, 2016

Johnson Publishing announced the end of its decades-long ownership of the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines on Tuesday (June 14). 

"This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African Americans," Johnson Publishing chairwoman Linda Johnson Rice said in a statement cited by the Chicago Tribune. The company published Ebony magazine for nearly 71 years.

Johnson Publishing sold Ebony and partner publication Jet to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based and Black-owned equity firm, for an undisclosed amount. "We made this purchase because this is an iconic brand—it’s the most-recognized brand in the African-American community," said Clear View Group’s co-founder and chairman, Michael Gibson. 

A new publishing entity, Ebony Media Operations, will now publish the magazines. The Tribune reports that the new company will maintain Ebony’s Chicago and New York offices, as well as most of the staff. Johnson Publishing will retain both the Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and Ebony’s up-for-sale photo archives, and Ebony’s editor-in-chief Kierna Mayo is moving to Interactive One, where she will serve as SVP for content and brands.

Johnson struggled to maintain revenue during the media shift from print to digital, even after transitioning Jet to a digital-only publication. Both magazines covered Black culture and lifestyle news.