Purchase of Essence From Time,Inc. Re-Establishes The Brand As 100% Black-Owned
Essence Ventures LLC, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce, recently announced its acquisition of multi-platform media company Essence Communications Inc. from Time Inc. While terms of the transaction were not disclosed, the sale re-establishes the nation’s leading black women’s magazine as 100% African American owned.
“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,” said Essence President Michelle Ebanks, who will continue at the helm of the company and will also join its board of directors. “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.”
“The strategic vision and leadership that Michelle has provided to Essence over the years have been exemplary, and we are thrilled to work with her and her talented team to provide the necessary resources and support to continue to grow the engagement and influence of the ESSENCE brand and transform this business,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and chairperson of Essence Ventures. “As importantly, 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 is the founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, a leading haircare and skincare company whose brands include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage and Madam C.J. Walker.
The pact comes a little over a month after Time Inc. was acquired in a $2.8 billion deal and ironically enough a month after Unilever acquired the acquisition of Sundial Brands with Dennis continuing as CEO and with Unilever creating a groundbreaking $100M New Voices Fund to invest in and empower women of color entrepreneurs.
Dennis said that the company remained committed to leveraging resources to provide opportunities for other culturally-rooted entrepreneurs and businesses that “further our culture and create economic opportunities for our communities.
“Our focus here,” he continued, “will be on ensuring that Essence reaches its full potential via heightened capabilities, technology, products and touch points that super-serve the interests of Black women locally and globally. We look forward to helping generate new opportunities that create more value across the Essence portfolio with unmatched content, commerce and international access for the millions of women it serves, as well as exceptional value for our advertising partners and content creators.”
ESSENCE currently reaches a global audience of more than 16 million across its various platforms encompassing its signature print magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials, including the Black Women in Hollywood Awards on OWN; books; and live events, including their annual ESSENCE Festival, which attracts more than 450,000 attendees.