Fox Swibel Represents Bankruptcy Trustee in Successful Auction of Johnson Publishing Company’s Historic Ebony and Jet Media Archives

Aug 15, 2019

N. Neville Reid

N. Neville Reid

Capital Partner

Full Bio
[email protected]

Fox Swibel represented the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for Johnson Publishing Company, LLC in connection with the auction of Ebony and Jet Magazines’ vast media archive containing more than four million iconic images and 10,000 hours of video and audio recordings chronicling the post-war African American experience. The auction began on July 17, 2019 but was extended by a week to accommodate the increase in bidder interest. The final auction, held at Fox Swibel’s office, ultimately resulted in the $30 million sale of the archive to a consortium consisting of The Ford Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Trust, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Miriam Stein, the Trustee for Johnson Publishing, noted that “Fox Swibel played a pivotal role assisting me as Trustee and Johnson Publishing with their excellent expert counsel leading to Johnson Publishing’s successful auction.” Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of Johnson Publishing and daughter of its founder John Johnson, commented that “the Fox Swibel team, led by Neville Reid, provided essential expert guidance and oversight throughout the rigorous transaction process”. The vast archive, widely regarded as a comprehensive collection of historically significant African American photography ever to come to market, became part of Johnson Publishing’s bankruptcy proceedings when the company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. The archive and its sale were extensively covered in the national press, including The New York Times (See here and here), The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune.

The Fox Swibel team was led by Neville Reid, Co-chair of the Firm’s Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights Group, and included Richard Meller (Corporate), Ryan Schultz (Bankruptcy), Jason Keener (Intellectual Property), and Brian Wilson (Litigation).