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Former Ebony and Jet magazines publisher files for bankruptcy

Vintage copies of JET magazine at the offices of Johnson Publishing Company.
Vintage copies of JET magazine at the offices of Johnson Publishing Company in 2014. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Johnson Publishing Co., the Chicago-based former owner of Ebony and Jet magazines, announced Tuesday it has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and plans to sell its assets, adding that there’s "a confluence of adverse events and factors outside of the company’s control led to this decision."

"This decision was not easy, nor should it have been. Johnson Publishing Company is an iconic part of American and African American history since our founding in 1942, and the company’s impact on society cannot be overstated."
— Johnson Publishing Co., said in a statement.

Why it matters: The business was founded in 1942 by Johnson H. Johnson, who died in 2005, and became an iconic black-owned media organization. It currently has "an extensive archive of about 4 million images and 10,000 video assets from its former magazines and a cosmetics business, Fashion Fair Cosmetics," according to CNN. Johnson Publishing sold Ebony and Jet, its two hallmark magazines, to a private equity firm in 2016 to reduce its debt.