Ebony, Jet Sold to Black Equity Firm as Johnson Publishing Leaves Magazine Business

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   June 15, 2016 at 8:16 AM

The iconic African-American magazines were sold to a Black owned Texas private equity firm.

john obit issue)CHICAGO, June 15 (UPI) — Johnson Publishing sold African-American lifestyle magazines Ebony and Jet to a Texas private equity firm.

The family-owned company, which has published Ebony since 1945, sold its publishing businesses to Clear View Group of Austin, Texas, for an undisclosed amount.

Ebony has documented and helped shape African-American culture with picture-filled articles, in the style of the old Life magazine, and was prominent in reporting the civil rights movement of the 1960s with photographs and stories. Its smaller-format companion magazine, Jet, which features humor and photographs, began in 1951 and has been an online-only publication since 2014.

Johnson Publishing has experienced declining sales as it moved from print to digital platforms. It will retain its archive of photographs, which was put up for sale in January for $40 million, and will invest more heavily in its affiliated business, Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

“We made this purchase because this is an iconic brand — it’s the most-recognized brand in the African-American community,” said Michael Gibson of Clear View Group. “We just think this is a great opportunity for us. It’s a dream come true. Growing up, we had Ebony and Jet in our household all along. You knew you made it when you made it to the cover of Ebony or Jet.”

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