Magic walks away from Ebony

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Retired NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson said he was unable to reach a deal to buy Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines.

Despite “advanced talks,” Johnson said in a statement that, “unfortunately, we were unable to reach a definitive agreement. We will continue to look for opportunities to invest in African-American media.”

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MAGIC JOHNSON

Johnson, chairman and CEO of Los Angeles-based Magic Johnson Enterprises, said he saluted Linda Johnson Rice and the Johnson family for pioneering the magazines.

“We have all come to love and respect Ebony and Jet, which have been permanent fixtures on coffee tables in African-American homes for many years,” said Johnson. “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. We will continue to look for opportunities to invest in African-American media.”

A spokeswoman for Chicago-based Johnson Publishing said the company is continuing “to explore a wide range of options” to leverage the Ebony and Jet brands.

Acquiring or teaming up with Johnson Publishing would have fit in with Magic Johnson’s efforts to grow his Magic Johnson Enterprises in urban markets.

His Urban Coffee Opportunities has partnered with Starbucks to provide retail outlets in underserved communities.

And he’s teamed with Sodexo, a catering and facilities management company, and 24 Hour Fitness clubs.

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