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Johnson Publishing sells Ebony & Jet magazines to Texas firm [RJOVenturesInc.com]

Johnson Publishing sells Ebony & Jet magazines to Texas firm Clear View Group. Featured @ RJO Ventures, Inc.

The company said Tuesday it has sold Ebony, its iconic African-American lifestyle magazine, and the now digital-only Jet magazine to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount.

Johnson Publishing will retain its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and its historic Ebony photo archives, which remains up for sale. The deal, which closed in May, also included the assumption of debt.

A family-owned business throughout its history, Ebony has documented the African-American experience since it first hit newsstands in 1945. It has shaped culture ever since, coming into its own as it reported from the front lines of the civil rights movement during the 1960s in powerful photos and prose.

Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing and daughter of founder John Johnson, will serve as chairman emeritus 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 Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of African-American-owned Clear View Group.

"When we make an investment, that's what we look for — a strong team that can actually run the company," Gibson said. "We're not managers or experts by any stretch of imagination in the media business. What we bring to the table is very strong networking and the ability to raise financing and the ability to establish a vision for the company."

"There's a lot of good reasons to keep the print," Gibson said. "That will always be our anchor. We want to grow the digital platform more consistently with both Ebony and Jet."