Earvin Magic Johnson could soon expand his empire to the publishing world.
Bloomberg.com reports that the former NBA player is in talks to take over Johnson Publishing Co., famous for its flagship publications Ebony and Jet. Under the prospective deal, the magazine publisher would be absorbed by Magic Johnson Enterprises. A source close to the agreement said that Magic would also buy Johnson Publishing’s Chicago offices.
MJE President Eric Holoman confirms that “there have been discussions” about Magic buying Johnson Publishing, but “there’s no definitive agreement.” However, a spokesperson for the magazine company said Johnson CEO Linda Johnson Rice hasn’t talked to Magic about a possible acquisition.
The founder of Johnson Publishing, John H. Johnson, passed away on five years ago. More recently, his wife Eunice Johnson died last month. Although Ebony is something of a powerhouse, the Publishers Information Bureau found that ad sales for the magazine dropped 38 percent last year.
Johnson Publishing would certainly be in good hands with MJE, which has lucrative partnerships with Starbucks and T.G.I. Friday’s.
— Sonya Eskridge