*A unit of JPMorgan Chase is becoming a partner in Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, reports the Associated Press.
It is the first time in the company’s 69-year history that it will not be fully family-owned.
Chairman Linda Johnson Rice did not disclose the terms of the investment, but said Wednesday the investment by Chase’s Special Investments Group positions the media and cosmetics company for continued growth.
Meanwhile, CEO Desiree Rogers told Richard Prince’s Journal-isms column that JPMorgan Chase would have only a “minority stake,” with a presence on the Johnson Publishing board.
It was “very important that the company remain minority-owned,” she said, adding, it “gives us the capital to move forward with the plans we’ve been working on — the continuing ‘rebranding’ of Ebony, which includes remaking the magazine’s digital platform; rebranding the pocket-sized Jet magazine, as it did with Ebony; and marketing the Fashion Fair cosmetics line more effectively.”
Rice’s father, John H. Johnson, built Ebony from a circulation of 25,000 on its first press run in November 1945 to a monthly circulation of 1.9 million in 1997. Jet, a newsweekly, was founded in 1951. The company also produces Fashion Fair Cosmetics. Johnson died in 2005.
Like other media companies, family-owned Johnson Publishing has been adversely affected by an advertising and circulation decline. According to the AP, Ebony’s circulation stands at 1.25 million monthly. Jet has a weekly circulation of 800,000.
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