Reports are circulating that Magic Johnson, basketball Hall of Famer is in talks to purchase Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines. The largest black publishing company, Johnson has been in business since 1942 when John H. Johnson started the business with a $500 loan.
In recent times, the company has gone through rounds of restructuring in attempts to cut costs in the wake of a rocky economy and declining ad sales. According to Publisher Information Bureau, Ebony ad revenue has dropped 38 percent to $35.5 million last year with a 39 percent drop in ad sales.
BusinessWeek reports that while talks have taken place, but nothing definitive has materialized.
“There have been discussions,” Eric Holoman, president of Los Angeles-based Magic Johnson Enterprises, said yesterday in an interview. “There’s no definitive agreement.” He declined to comment further.
If the deal were to go through, Johnson Publishing would be absorbed into the Magic Johnson Enterprises.
According to Bloomberg, "Linda Johnson Rice, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing, declined a request for an interview, said Wendy Parks, a spokeswoman. Johnson Rice “has never talked to Magic Johnson with respect to his interest in buying” the company, Parks said yesterday."