I can only say I completely understand what EBONY and JET had to do. Running a company like that year after year with declining profits and a lack of interest in the brand from consumers is a herculean task. Consumers have drastically changed over the decades, in the last one especially relying on digital delivery of news and information. While many people are disappointed in the sale without question they only know 1/100th of it. It’s also hard to believe that those photo archives are still up for sale after all this time, would that be the case if TIME put their archives up for sale? If EBONY and JET were so important to us, why weren’t we supporting it more?
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Johnson Publishing has sold Ebony and the now digital-only Jet magazine to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm, The amount of the sale is undisclosed. Both magazines derive from a family owned business throughout some of the most turbulent and memorable times in African American history since 1945. Both magazines have been magnanimous leaders in informing and shaping the culture of the black community over the decades… but times have changed.
The company has seen a steady decline in revenue for print publications over the years. Chairman of Johnson Publishing and daughter of the late founder John Johnson, Linda Johnson Rice, will continue with the company serving as chairman emeritus on the board . She stated: “This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African-Americans.” Clear View Group plans to continue the print edition of Ebony and they plan to keep most of the current team. “We made this purchase because this is an iconic brand — it’s the most-recognized brand in the African-American community,” said Gibson, 59. “We just think this is a great opportunity for us.” The new company also plans to expand the brand with more event based ventures. The archive for both publications went up for sale almost two years ago and is still up for sale for 40 million. Johnson Publishing will maintain the cosmetics end of the brand.