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Time Inc. sells Essence festival

Multinational mass media giant Time Inc. has sold its successful Essence music festival to Essence Ventures, an independent investment vehicle led by toiletries entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis, for an undisclosed sum.

The sale forms part of Essence Ventures’ acquisition of  Essence Communications, a multimedia brand centred on the long-running Essence magazine. Essence president Michelle Ebanks continues in her role, and also joins the board of Essence Communications, while the all-black, all-female Essence executive team gain an equity stake in the business.

Time Inc., which publishes Time, People, Fortune and Sports Illustrated magazines, among others, bought 49% of Essence Communications in 2000, acquiring the remaining shares in 2005.

“We are excited to be able to return this culturally relevant and historically significant platform to ownership by the people and the consumers whom it serves”

“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,” says Liberian-born Dennis, who established the Shea Moisture brand of toiletries in Harlem, New York, in 1991.

“As importantly, we are excited to be able to return this culturally relevant and historically significant platform to ownership by the people and the consumers whom it serves and offer new opportunities for the women leading the business to also be partners in the business.”

Essence Festival 2017, headlined by Diana Ross, Chance the Rapper, John Legend and Mary J. Blige, was attended by 470,000 people and generated a record-breaking 4bn social-media impressions. The festival has also spawned a spin-off event in Durban, South Africa.

 


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