Black-Owned Media Group Reportedly Negotiating Purchase Of Sports Illustrated Publisher

The collective has its sights set on other big deals.

Group Black, a Black-owned media firm, is negotiating a deal with Arena Group to buy a majority stake in the publisher of Sports Illustrated and other publications, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The discussions are part of Group Black’s efforts to expand ad inventory to marketers who have recently committed to placing ads with Black- and minority-owned media companies but have found few opportunities. But sources told the WSJ that a deal might not come through in the ongoing discussions.

In addition to owning the rights to publish Sports Illustrated, Arena owns dozens of other publications, including Men’s Journal, and TheStreet.

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Black entrepreneurs Travis Montaque, Richelieu Dennis and Bonin Bough co-founded Group Black in 2021, which bills itself as a “collective” focused on “build[ing] solutions that accelerate inclusive spending by brands.”

The company helps advertisers buy ads with its member companies, which includes Essence Communications Inc., the publisher of Essence magazine, which Dennis bought in 2018.

On June 19, Group Black and NBCUniversal announced an exclusive partnership “to amplify Black-led content.” NBCUniversal curated that content for marketing and sale by Group Black in a “growing full-year advertising opportunity and investment in the Black-owned ecosystem.”

Meanwhile, Group Black was also pursuing other big potential acquisitions, including for Vice Media and Bustle Digital Group.

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