It’s the end of an era! After 71 years in the business, Johnson Publishing Company is closing and has sold Ebony, the iconic African-American lifestyle magazine, and Jet magazine, now only available digitally, to an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm called Clear View Group.
The family-owned publishing company will still own its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and its historic Ebony photo archives, which are currently for sale. The deal, which closed in May, also included the assumption of debt.
Ebony has been a vital source for the African-American experience since it first issue in 1945. From covering the civil rights movement in the 60s and Vanessa Williams win of Miss America to the inauguration of President Obama and paying homage to the late great artist formally known as Prince, Ebony has shaped the black culture over the span of seven decades.
However, most recently, Johnson Publishing’s media revenues has decreased due to hardships transitioning from print to digital and multimedia platforms.
Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing and daughter of founder John Johnson, will serve as chairman on the board of the new company.
“This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African-Americans,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
The new publishing entity, Ebony Media Operations, will maintain the magazine’s Chicago headquarters and its New York editorial office, as well as much of the current staff, according to Clear View Group’s co-founder and chairman, Michael Gibson.