By Robert Stitt
Johnson Publishing has represented Black America since 1945. With magazines such as Jet and Ebony, the publishing empire established by the late John H. Johnson told the story of Black culture through the war years, the civil rights movement, and the rise of Black athletes and politicians. As of June 14, 2016, Johnson Publishing sold its rights to their flagship magazines and stepped away from the publishing business.
The iconic magazines were purchased by a private equity firm in Austin, Texas, called the Clear View Group. According to Business Wire, the Clear View Group is “an African American-led investment group that brings to bear over twenty-five years of experience creating, developing and running successful corporations.”
The magazines will now be run out of a new enterprise called Ebony Media. Michael Gibson, CEO of Clear View Group and the new Chairman of Ebony Media has this to say about the acquisition. “We are excited about the future of Ebony Media and the opportunity to position the enterprise for long-term growth. Our team has a true understanding of the Ebony brand as well as its legacy, and is committed to providing its audience with premium content across all media platforms.”
According to Rolling Out, Ebony Media Operations is still going to be headquartered in Chicago. The magazines will keep many of the staff and administration. The New York editorial office will also remain open.
Founder John H. Johnson’s daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, will serve as chairman emeritus of the board of the new company. She said this about the sale, “This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father John H. Johnson built to ensure the celebration of African-Americans.”
Johnson Publishing is also looking to sell the rights to Ebony’s photo archives. They are asking “close to $40 million for the iconic images that captured our culture from the Civil Rights Movements to the rise of Black entertainment in popular culture.”