Johnson Publishing Co. Has Sold Ebony and Jet Magazines to Private Equity Firm

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CHICAGO (AP) — Ebony and Jet magazines, which have chronicled African-American life for the past 71 years, have been sold to an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm.  Ebony magazine, founded by John Johnson, first hit the newsstands in 1945. It’s been hit by declining circulation and revenues in recent years.

“I can confirm that Ebony has been sold,” said Johnson Publishing CEO Desiree Rogers. “It allows Johnson Publishing to reduce its debt associated with the media company and focus on growth of its cosmetics business.”

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The Chicago Tribune reports Johnson Publishing will retain its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and its Ebony photo archive, which is for sale.

Johnson’s daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, will serve as chairman emeritus on the board of the new company, Ebony Media Operations. Clear View Group chairman Michael Gibson says the company will retain its Chicago headquarters and much of its staff.

Johnson Publishing was founded in Chicago in 1942 by John H. Johnson and his wife Eunice. It is currently headed by his daughter, the company Chairwoman Linda Johnson Rice.

Over the past five years, Johnson Publishing has been rapidly down-sizing its operations  as it scrambled to keep pace in the rapidly changing media world. It suspended print publication of JET and made it digital-only in 2014, reports the NY Post.

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