According to published reports, basketball Hall of Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, is quietly making moves that could result in acquiring controlling interest in Inner City Broadcasting Corp. and its flagship radio stations in New York, WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM. Thedeal.com reported that ICBC’s debt of over $230 million currently held by Goldman Sachs and GE Capital will be changing hands to Magic Johnson Enterprises and Ron Burkle‘s Yucaipa Companies. The pair have already joined forces to make a number of media moves. The MJE and Yucaipa partnership earlier this year purchased controlling interest in Vibe Holdings, which includes Vibe and Uptown magazines, and the Soul Train TV archives and name. Most recently it made moves to buy three FM stations in the Phoenix metro area.
The debt transfer does not mean that Johnson and Burkle own Inner City, but the move could mean that the less desirable of ICBC’s 17 radio stations could be sold.
Inner City Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1971 by Harlemite Percy Sutton, the New York-based lawyer, civil rights activist and politician who passed in 2009. ICBC owns radio stations in New York, New York; San Francisco, California; Philadelphia and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; and Jackson, Mississippi.