- Deal reestablishes ESSENCE as a 100% Black-owned independent company
- Black female-led ESSENCE executive team to have ownership stake in the brand
Essence Ventures LLC, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce, today announced its acquisition of multi-platform media company Essence Communications Inc. from Time Inc. according to Businesswire. ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks will continue at the helm of the company and will also join its board of directors. In addition, the all Black female executive team of ESSENCE, including Ebanks, will have an equity stake in the business.
“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 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.”
Essence Ventures is an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of women of color. The company began in 2017 and is chaired by its founder – entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Richelieu Dennis. Dennis recently sold his company Shea Moisture to Unilever for an undisclosed amount.
Through the Essence Ventures’ investment and resulting incremental growth opportunities, ESSENCE will focus on expanding its digital businesses via distribution partnerships, compelling original content and targeted client-first strategies. In addition, the brand will expand its international growth by planting its rich content ecosystem, including the flagship magazine, digital properties and successful live event franchises, in more global markets with women who have shared interests and aspirations.
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: The Oprah Winfrey Network; books; and live events, including the Street Style Block Party during New York Fashion Week and the annual ESSENCE Festival, a cultural celebration that debuted in 1995 and is now one of the country’s largest annual events, attracting more than 450,000 attendees.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.