No 'Magic' for Johnson Publishing Co.
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Earvin “Magic” Johnson said Monday that talks to do business with Johnson Publishing Co., the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, are now dead.

“Recently, an affiliate of Magic Johnson Enterprises and Johnson Publishing Co. were in advanced discussions to do business together, but unfortunately we were unable to reach a definitive agreement,” the former Los Angeles Laker said in a statement.

The statement confirms rumors from last week that Johnson’s Magic Johnson Enterprises had an interest in investing in and possibly buying Johnson Publishing (No. 15 on the BE 100s Industrial Service list with $328 million in revenues).

Magic Johnson, who is not related to the Johnson publishing family,  has formed several strategic partnerships with companies such as Sodexo, Starbucks Corp., AMC Entertainment Inc., and Aetna. Johnson has also ventured into the financial services sector, and through the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund committed nearly $1 billion in capital on the revitalization of ethnically diverse communities. He also licenses his name and likeness to companies such as Jackson Hewitt and furniture rental company Rent-a-Center, an endeavor that critics say discredits his goals to uplift the black community.
Ebony and Jet Magazines introduced the country to Black American life, fashion, and celebrities when John H. Johnson founded the magazine in 1942 on a loan from his mother’s furniture. The company is now run by Linda Johnson Rice, the founders’ daughter.

“I would like to salute Linda Johnson Rice and the Johnson family for pioneering the iconic brand of the Johnson Publishing Co., which we have all come to love and respect,” said Magic Johnson. “Ebony and Jet have been permanent fixtures on coffee tables in African-American homes for many years.”

Johnson said he will continue to look for opportunities to invest in African American media.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.