Johnson Publishing Co., the Chicago publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, has sold a minority stake to J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. and will use funds raised through the investment to accelerate its growth plan.I wonder what's the strategy:
CEO Desiree Rogers declined to say how much the private-equity arm of New York-based J.P. Morgan invested, but she noted that the stake is “substantial.”
The funds will be used to expand the brand's digital presence, and increase marketing for Johnson's magazines and its Fashion Fair cosmetics line.
The company also plans to bring some functions in-house, hiring a general counsel, head of human relations and vice-president of digital, Ms. Rogers said. She also said Chief Marketing Officer Rod Sierra has left to pursue his own business.
Chase is “supportive of the strategic direction” the company has taken over the past year, Ms. Rogers said.
Part of Ms. Rogers's digital plan is to strike partnerships with more vendors online to sell services and products to readers, she said. “Mainly now what we're doing is refining our strategy,” she said.Well this is where I could add what I wish could be seen in Ebony and Jet magazines, but I think I will hold off. Johnson Publishing needs to turn their product around and hopefully then maybe some changes will be made to the content of their publications.
The monthly Ebony has used direct-mail marketing and discounted subscriptions to help return its circulation to 1.25 million, Ms. Rogers said. That's the base rate that is touted with advertisers. Ebony's total paid and verified circulation was 997,173 as of the end of last year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Jet's circulation has jumped to 800,000 weekly, the company said. That's up from 703,944 as of the end of last year, according to ABC.
Ms. Rogers is also considering cutting costs by teaming up with other publications to buy materials, such as paper, at bulk prices. The company also previously announced it's selling its current Michigan Avenue office building and moving to a new headquarters in the city.