Monday, February 15, 2010

Why Magic Johnson Should Buy Ebony and Jet

If you haven't heard by now, the rumors are true. Magic Johnson is interested in buying Johnson Publishing, the company that owns Ebony and Jet Magazines.

Ebony and Jet, if you didn't know, are the oldest and the most widely circulated publications that target African Americans. Founded by John Johnson over 60 years ago, the company has since generated billions in advertising revenue - but has fallen on tough times amidst a difficult economy and the recent deaths of both Johnson and his wife.

In 2009, the company's revenue declined 38% to just $35.5 million.

However, former NBA player and business mogul Magic Johnson is interested in coming to the rescue. He and his company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, are reportedly already having conversations to move the acquisition forward.

I think this is a great idea for Magic Johnson. Johnson Publishing needs a new face, and I think Magic's clean and well-respected image is perfect.

Even more, Magic is a brilliant entrepreneur with many successful businesses. He has defied many odds, and has become a global business icon. I believe that in no time he could rebuild Ebony and Jet back to profitability.

It's also a great PR move for him to be known as the person who bought two ailing magazines that have such powerful and cultural significance amongst Blacks.

Finally, Magic's acquisition of the company would encourage something that you don't see much of these days: Bigger Black-owned companies acquiring their smaller Black-owned counterparts. This is something that the Black business community lacks greatly, and is the very reason why many small Black-owned firms have sold their companies to white-owned firms.

Through this one simple acquisition, Magic Johnson would make history (again), and would undoubtedly influence the lives of African Americans in many different ways.


  1. Lovely idea. Love all of Magic's initiatives. There can be no excuses for Ebony and Jet being in the doldrums. Publishers such as Conde Nast have incredible plans for Vanity Fair going forward, and even after a tough decade for magazines in general, Vanity Fair is surging ahead, and why shouldn't Magic do the same with his titles should he acquire them. There's a lot of technology out there that can provide great magazines an even greater platform and an ever larger audience.

  2. Great article Dante. I totally agree.

  3. I think that this is an exceptional idea. Magic Johnson has proven to be a fantastic business man. Jet and Ebony would soar to new heights with Magic at the helm! Fresh,new blood with fresh, new 2010 ideas! Let us not sell out as BET did. May you reach higher heights Magic, release some of your magic on this blessing that is waiting on you!

  4. Excellent comments and perspective regarding the acquisition of Johnson Publishing Company by Magic Johnson Enterprises. You consistently think strategic in your communication pieces with the majority of those ideas having the potential for significant investment returns. This one fits in that category with the potential for immediate positive business volosity. Subscription rates would improve immediately, more advertisers would get on board, more freelance writers would contribute value added works, the business would attract new and fresh talent, etc. My experience in business has taught me that you must keep your product fresh and new management is often the most likely way to make that happen. If not Magic Johnson Enterprises, why not a group headed by Dante Lee? If not now, when?

  5. When my husband and I returned home from the Philippine Islands, Mr. Johnson hired my husband as a Jet, associate editor, made him part of the Johnson Publishing family, and found ways for him to enhance his career as a journalist. Johnson Publishing Company provided the benefits we neeed as we established our home in Chicago.

    Mr. Johnson's generousity to us was not unique, but was extended to many young African Americans. Ebony Fashion Fair has benefitted many African American organizations. Mr. Johnson supported many African American politician without any fanfare.

    We need to remember the legacy of Black on Black love exemplified by John and Eunice Johnson and support his company in its time of need. I, for one, will subscribe to Jet today and extend my subscription to Ebony.

    Educators need to call for the reactivation of Ebony Jr. and then purchase and use in their classrooms.

    Sororities and social organizations should send out an appeal to their members to subscribe to Johnson Publishing Companies journals and use ite online site.

    If we cannot support Johnson Publications at this time, if we discard this innovative publishing company as a people, we should not complain about other ethnic groups who stick together for their good. We should not let the words "racis" cross our lips.

    Let us stand together as African Americans, free slaves, and the most creative, dynamic humans on earth, and support Johnson Publishing whether with Magic as the head or under the current leadership.

  6. As a frequent reader of this blog for some time now, I have appreciated the wide-ranging information that is presented in an educative, yet succinct fashion.

    I am currently going through the process of defining the vision for my newly formed company, New Progress Group, by writing the business plan and this news has inspired me a great deal. This post spoke to me because it is a reminder of what black business has been, can be and will be.

    With that, I am motivated to develop myself as a businessperson by continually learning and implementing knowledge learned to build an enterprise.

  7. I think that is a fantastic idea. I have been a subscriber of both Ebony and Jet for years and I was saddened when I heard that the publications might be sold. But if the possibility exists of Magic Johnson acquiring them, this is a stroke of genius on his part. What better way to continue the legacy of these two wonderful magazines that have such a rich history within our community. Kudos to Magic Johnson. And, if not him, then someone else in the Black community should step forward.

  8. Love IT! Black businesses in major aquisitions? Sounds like good stuff. Magazines ARE losing lots of money right now, black owned and otherwise. But with the launch of tools like Apple's new iPad and electronic publishing getting ready to take a leap, this is the perfect time for a business man like Mr. Magic Johnson to take ownership and move a business like Johnson Publishing into a 2.0 world.

  9. I would applaud Magic Johnson if he acquires the Ebony and Jet publications. There is a vast store house of history in the Johnson
    archives which have not been made available to the general public. We need to have these
    documents in the hands of our people. GOD BLESS.

  10. I hope the deal goes through because Ebony and Jet have been stuck inside a box for years. Their organization seems to operate in a mode of fear. Time for some new leadership. Once the business changes hands I would expect to see them start working with some black internet publishers to figure out what the h*ll they are doing. I know a few that could help them.