Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company, found by John Harold Johnson, has filed for bankruptcy, according to a federal court filing. John Harold Johnson died August 8, 2005.
Johnson Publishing Company, which first started Ebony in 1945 and Jet magazine in 1951, filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The petition, filed in the Northern District of Illinois, says the company has between 200 and 999 creditors, as well as between $10 million and $50 million in both assets and liabilities.
The company is seeking to liquidate after failing to find new sources of funding, according to the court filing.
The company was started in Chicago in 1942 and sold its headquarters on Michigan Avenue around 2010 to 2011 to Columbia College. Johnson Publishing Company is privately held, and its chairman and CEO is the John Harold Johnson’s daughter, Linda Johnson Rice. The latest company address was located at 200 South Michigan Avenue.
Jet converted from print format to digital-only format in 2014. Ebony currently hits the newsstands about 7 times per year.
In June 2016, the company sold Ebony and Jet magazines to a private equity firm Clear View Group in Texas. The new publisher is known as Ebony Media Corporation.
Johnson Publishing still owns Fashion Fair cosmetics.
Johnson’s Ebony and Jet magazines were iconic, among the most influential African-American businesses in media beginning in the second half of the twentieth century. In 1982, John Harold Johnson became the first African American to appear on the Forbes 400. In 1987, Johnson was named Black Enterprise Entrepreneur of the year.
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