Johnson Publishing Sells Legacy Magazines Ebony and Jet

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 06/15/2016 | 11:00 AM EDT

(Photo from left: Jet Magazine, Ebony Magazine)

After 71 years, Black-owned family business hands over publishing staples to private equity firm in Texas

The Johnson Publishing Company, a Black-owned family business, has sold its legacy magazines Ebony and Jet after 71 years, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The company announced that its iconic lifestyle brands are now owned by Clear View Group, a Black-owned private equity firm based in Texas. The sale amount remains undisclosed.

Like most print businesses, particularly magazines geared toward African-American readers, Johnson Publishing faced challenges in staying afloat in an industry marred by declining print circulation, and more importantly, revenue. 

"This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African-Americans," Chairman Linda Johnson Rice said of the sale, which took place in May.

Johnson Publishing To Sell Historic Photo Archive For Millions

Though Jet magazine had already ceased printing and went completely digital, Ebony isn't going off newsstands, according to Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of Clear View Group.

"We made this purchase because this is an iconic brand — it's the most-recognized brand in the African-American community," Gibson said. "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...You knew you made it when you made it to the cover of Ebony or Jet. It is just exciting."

Most of Ebony and Jet's staff will remain, Gibson says. Moving forward, the Clear View Group hopes to use their strong networking and financing ability to revamp a stronger, more viable Ebony and Jet in the digital era. 

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