Magic Johnson, Ron Burkle Make 8-Figure Investment in Vibe

The former LA Lakers star will become chairman as the company looks to build what Burkle calls “one of the most important enterprises in urban media.”

NEW YORK – Earvin "Magic" Johnson’s Magic Johnson Enterprises and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. have agreed to invest in Vibe Holdings, the parent company of Vibe magazine and music-and-dance TV show Soul Train, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The investment, said to be in the eight figures, will see the former LA Lakers star become the company’s chairman. The deal comes approximately a year after Johnson tried to buy Jet and Ebony magazines.

Burkle’s name has repeatedly come up in connection with possible media deals in recent years, including in the bidding for Tribune. Most recently, he worked with Harvey and Bob Weinstein on a possible deal for Miramax before they dropped out over price.

Vibe Holdings will use the capital injection in part to acquire similar media assets to help capture a larger share of the African-American market for advertisers. "We intend to build one of the most important enterprises in urban media," Burkle said.

Vibe magazine closed down in June 2009 amid debt problems, but was then resurrected as a print magazine, now published six times a year, and online brand private equity firm Intermedia Partners and Uptown Media.