Magic Johnson Looks to Build Vibe
Yucaipa/Johnson Fund invested $12 million in urban media company.
Magic Johnson is looking to do business.
At a Vibe Holdings launch party for Johnson in New York City last night, he spoke about his desire to build on current online and video efforts. In attendance was a stocked group of current and possible investors. Johnson claims that his expertise is growing brands, and installed “Let’s do business” as his motto for the night.
Johnson took this even further by singling out reps in attendance, including Unilever and NBA, inquiring if he could expect their business.
Johnson, along with partner Ron Burkle (who owns almost 30 percent of the grocery superstore A & P and is worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes) invested an estimated $12 million in Vibe. The men formed the Yucaipa/Johnson Fund from Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. and Magic Johnson Enterprises, which is said to have a net worth of $550 million. Vibe announced the investment on the first of the year.
Johnson and Burkle will share Vibe with current owner, private-equity firm InterMedia Partners.
The former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star is now the chairman of Vibe Holdings, which includes Vibe and Uptown magazines, Vibe.com and the Soul Train television show and library. Johnson plans to expand on video, advertising and to revive Soul Train among other efforts for the Vibe brand.
There was talk in early 2010 that Magic Johnson Enterprises was looking to buy Johnson Publishing, publisher of Ebony and Jet Magazines. Johnson said the acquisition was not completed because his company couldn’t reach a deal with the Johnson Publishers, based in Chicago.
InterMedia Partners, along with partners Uptown Media Group, purchased Vibe and Vibe.com assets in August 2009, after publishing group The Wick Group defaulted on its loan and forced a temporary shutdown that took place on June 30, 2009 of the magazine, according to nypost.com.