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EXCLUSIVE LICENSE TO EBONY

In the third of three sales on behalf of Miriam R. Stein, as chapter 7 trustee of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), the trustee retained Hilco Streambank to market for sale the debtor’s rights under a license agreement.  The agreement provided JPC with an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable license to trademarks and domain names containing “Ebony” for use in the fields of fashion, cosmetics and personal care.  

JPC, founded in 1942, was at one time the largest African American owned publishing firm in the United States, having published Ebony and Jet magazines.  JPC had previously sold the Ebony and Jet magazine titles to Ebony Media Operations, which then sold the titles to Bridgeman Sports & Media (Bridgeman).  Bridgeman, which operates ebony.com, is owned by former NBA star Junior Bridgeman.  

We reached out to more than 400 potential buyers, many of whom we had conversed as part of the sale processes for the JPC photography archive and the JPC-owned Fashion Fair cosmetics brand. Following a sealed bid auction, the trustee declared the bid submitted by Bridgeman totaling $1 million to be the successful bid, and closed on the sale in February, 2022.