ESSENCE Magazine was acquired by Essence Ventures, LLC on Wednesday in a deal that led way for the beloved black women's magazine to now be 100 percent black-owned.
Essence Ventures, which is an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce, acquired the magazine from Time, Inc.
“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. “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.”
Ebanks will maintain an equity stake in the business. Essence Ventures' goal is to expand ESSENCE's digital business via distribution partnerships, compelling original content and targeted client-first strategies and growing its international market.
“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 and CEO of SunDial Brands. “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.”
ESSENCE launched in 1970 and has since become a standard for celebrating diverse images of black women. Its brand has extended to black girl magical events such as the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans.