It appears that Johnson Publishing Co’s chairman and CEO, Linda Johnson Rice, has reached a decision to seek a buyer or investor for Ebony magazine.
According to a Newsweek report, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to African-American life desperately needs cash. No small surprise — many of the monthly publications that once drew millions of readers now struggle for advertisers and audience. Blame it on the Internet.
Citing media and investment executives familiar with the developments, Newsweek says that Rice, the daughter of Ebony’s legendary founder, the late John H. Johnson, has approached, among others, Time Inc., Viacom, and private investors that include buyout firms. Time Inc., the world’s largest magazine publisher, already owns Essence and Viacom owns BET.
It’s unclear whether any of Johnson Publishing’s other properties — most notably Jet — would be part of any deal.
Speculation began earlier this year that Johnson Publishing was facing economic challenges and that the magazine might be headed toward a shut-down.
Earlier this month the prestigious Ebony Fashion Fair traveling fashion show was canceled for the first time in its 51-year history.