No Merger Between ‘Magic’ and Johnson Co.

Retired NBA legend and current business developer Ervin “Magic” Johnson is no longer in talks to buy Johnson Publishing Co., the company behind Ebony and Jet. Johnson Enterprises has issued a statement, published in Folio, saying the deal went kaput.

A haunting image (.jpg) of Magic and Jet’s torrid past, after the jump.

Last week, we heard rumors that Magic Johnson Enterprises was in talks to buy the magazine publisher. Looks like the deal didn’t pan out. Johnson Publishing said in an emailed statement to Folio that it’s still evaluating its options but that it wouldn’t be providing specifics.

On the face of it, the partnership looked like a good fit. Johnson Publishing is the world’s largest African-American-run publishing company. In regard to the scuttled deal, Magic said, “We will continue to look for opportunities to invest in African-American media,” so getting in the publishing game is something of a goal for him.

Furthermore, Magic Johnson Enterprises is a pretty heavy hitter: It’s entered into joint ventures with a staffing firm, Starbucks, and T.G.I. Friday’s, so the company has experience doing some big deals. The two companies share a surname. To top it all off, Magic Johnson has even graced the cover of Jet:

Alas, that picture remains the extent of the partnership between the two Johnsons. Looks like Magic will have to look elsewhere for an entry into the media business, and Johnson Publishing will be going it alone for the moment.