It is with great joy that we announced that Essence is under new ownership and is now an independent African-American-owned company. Thank you for being in our corner over the last 47 years. We know that we work for you and nothing makes us happier. ❤️ https://t.co/q2BGN0pxNF pic.twitter.com/CbLQlpK9Qz
— ESSENCE (@Essence) January 4, 2018
After being owned by Time Inc., for 18 years, Essence magazine is once again Black-owned. The 48-year-old publication dedicated to the interests of Black women was acquired by independent Essence Ventures LLC, according to a Wednesday, Jan. 3 release.
Keeping in line with the target audience, the magazine will have an all-Black female executive team, including Michelle Ebanks continuing to serve as president and joining the board of directors.
“This acquisition of Essence represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,” Ebanks said in a statement. “In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”
Through the sale to Richelieu Dennis, founder of natural haircare brand SheaMoisture, Essence magazine now returns to being Black-owned as it was when it launched in 1970. Time magazine bought a 49 percent stake in the brand from Essence Communications Partners in 2000 before completely buying the company five years later.
“We are excited to be able to return this culturally relevant and historically significant platform to ownership by the people and the consumers whom it serves and offer new opportunities for the women leading the business to also be partners in the business,” Dennis said.
While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, what is known is that the company will expand the business through distribution partnerships, original content and targeted client-first strategies. It will also develop its international growth through its content — the magazine, digital properties and live events like the Essence Festival, which saw more than 470,000 guests at last year’s event — in more global markets. Such markets contain women sharing similar interests and ambitions.
The new ownership comes after Time announced in July 2017 that it sought to sell its majority stake in the company.