A former NBA player is likely to become the new owner of Ebony Media after bidding $14 million dollars to purchase the now-bankrupt media company.
Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman placed his bid to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston, Texas to purchase the iconic media brand responsible for printing Ebony and JET magazines. An official decision is expected to be passed down today from the courts as the result of a sales hearing.
Featured on a 2016 Forbes top-paid athletes list, Bridgeman is the CEO of a Coca-Cola bottling company and part-owner of Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited proving he has the business savvy to take on another entity.
Once playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers, the retired athlete and owner of Bridgeman Sports and Media, first placed a bid to purchase Sports Illustrated in 2018. Later withdrawing the proposal to purchase the sports publication in 2019, Bridgeman set his sights on Ebony Media.
Both Ebony and JET magazine served as iconic staples in the Black community for over 50 years. Founded in 1945 and 1951 respectively by John H. Johnson, Ebony and JET magazine faced financial hardship and was sold in 2016 to a private firm in Texas, the Clear View Group.
Forced to file chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2019 from creditors and selling much of its assets including the coveted photo archive for $30 million dollars, the once-popular media company perished amid allegations of mishandling of funds, lawsuits and battles over its ownership.
Responsible for covers highlighting leading African Americans such as Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Michelle Obama and pivotal moments such as the funerals of Emmett Till and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, both Ebony and JET magazine suffered from a decline in circulation.
Serving as the CEO for Ebony Media for a year, daughter of former owner John H. Johnson, Linda Johnson Rice stepped down from her position in 2018.