Basketball Great Magic Johnson Nearing Purchase of Ebony and Jet Magazines

Earvin “Magic” Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson

(Taylor Media Services) Reports emerged last week that retired NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson was in the final stage of talks to buy Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company, the publisher of the financially ailing, Black-oriented Ebony and Jet magazines.

But the president of Los Angeles-based Magic Johnson Enterprises Eric Holman would only say, there have been discussions. There is no definitive agreements. He declined to comment further.

Johnson Publishing Company has been struggling during the current recession with a decline in readership and a 38 percent drop in advertising revenue.

The company has been trying desperately to stay afloat financially including restyling the magazines and the mortgaging of its historic 11-story headquarters building in Chicago. Current company head Linda Johnson Rice has consistently declined to comment on any rumors regarding sale of the company founded by her father John H. Johnson in 1942.

Meanwhile, the 50- year-old Magic Johnson has employed his Magic Johnson Enterprises to become one of the five richest Blacks in America with an estimated wealth of over $450 million. The original report of a possible sale of Johnson Publishing Company to magic Johnson Enterprises came from the business media outlet Bloomberg. Nevertheless, a spokeswoman for Johnson-Rice says the owner has not personally talked with Magic Johnson about a sale.

Ebony and Jet have long-chronicled Black life in America but in recent years has fought a losing battle for Black audience with other Black-oriented publications, mainstream media and the Internet.

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