Ebony and Jet magazine are sold

Johnson Publishing Company, a family owned publisher of African American titles based in Chicago, reportedly sold Ebony and Jet magazines to Clear View Group in Austin, Texas a private- equity firm.

The surprise announcement follows Kierna Mayo, Editor- in-Chief of Ebony, announcing her departure from the magazine the day before. Mayo wrote on Twitter “I’m leaving Ebony…. It wasn’t an easy decision.”

Mayo, also tweeted “I am the new Senior Vice President of Content and Brands for Interactive One.” Interactive One is an online publisher focused on urban audience.

Johnson Publishing Company, originally founded in 1942 by John H. Johnson, is one of the longest running African-American magazine publishing companies in the United States.

Jet, founded in 1951, was one of the first magazines to hone in on the civil rights movement. The rapid growth of social media and digital outlets, however, has been a constant struggle for Johnson Publishing Company, as it has for many publishers. In 2014 Jet stopped printing issues and became an online only publication.

Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of John H. Johnson, and Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company emailed to reporters, “This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African Americans.”

Johnson Publishing Company will retain Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a make-up company aimed at people of color.

Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing, will reportedly retain her position and focus on the cosmetics business.

“We made this purchase because this is an iconic brand—it’s the most-recognized brand in the African-American community,” Michael Gibson, Chairman of Clear View Group, told the Chicago Tribune.

Cheryl McKissack, who has served as chief operating officer for Johnson Publishing Company since 2013, has reportedly been promoted to CEO of Ebony Media Operations.