Time Inc. Sells Essence; It Is Now Completely A Black-Owned Company

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NEW YORK — Today Wednesday (January 3), it was announced that Essence Communications is being acquired by Essence Ventures LLC, a privately held venture formed by Richelieu Dennis, the founder of hair- and skin-care products maker Sundial Brands.

Essence Ventures LLC, is an independent African-American owned company that focuses on merging content, community and commerce.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Essence president Michelle Ebanks will continue to run the company and will also join its board of directors. In addition, the all-black female executive team of Essence, including Ebanks, will have equity stakes in the business.

Under the new ownership, Essence will focus on expanding its digital businesses via distribution partnerships, developing original content and pursuing “targeted client-first strategies,” according to the announcement.

“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.

Dennis commented, “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.”

In November 2017, Unilever announced the acquisition of Sundial Brands, with Dennis continuing as CEO.

Founded in 1968, Essence Communications launched its flagship magazine in 1970. Today it’s a multiplatform content brand encompassing beauty, fashion, lifestyle, entertainment and culture. Time Inc. had acquired a minority stake in Essence Communications in 2000, and bought the entire business in 2005.

Essence reaches a global audience of more than 16 million unique users across platforms, including its print magazine; digital, video and social platforms; TV specials, including the Black Women in Hollywood Awards; and live events including the annual Essence Festival, which attracts more than 450,000 attendees annually.

Photos Credit: Dennis Leupold

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Donovan

Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.