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Forbes family prepares to sell media empire

Forbes is set to become the latest high-profile publication to leave family ownership, with its parent company, Forbes Media, confirming the business is up for sale.

Forbes is set to become the latest high-profile publication to leave family ownership, with its parent company, Forbes Media, confirming the business is up for sale.

In an email to staff on Friday, chief executive Mike Perlis – the first non-family member to run the company in its 96-year history – said it had hired bankers to “test the waters regarding a sale”.

According to the Wall St Journal, the company hopes the sale will yield more than $400 million.

Earlier this year, The Washington Post Company, owned by the Graham family, sold its flagship title and a number of smaller papers to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

And in February The New York Times Company, run by the Sulzberger family, sold The Boston Globe to local businessman and owner of the Boston Red Sox, John W Henry.

Weekly publication Forbes is known for its power lists and profiles of some of the world’s most influential business leaders. Forbes Media’s websites and conference business would also be included in the sale.

The magazine has a circulation of almost a million, and includes international editions in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Its current editor is third-gen Steve Forbes, who has twice been nominated as a Republican Party presidential candidate. His grandfather, B C Forbes, founded the company in 1917, but it was his father, the flamboyant Malcolm Forbes, who is credited with significantly increasing the circulation of the publications.

Known for his lavish lifestyle, Malcolm was a collector of motorcycles, Faberge eggs and hot air balloons, and owned a private jet named Capitalist Tool.

In 2006, the family sold a minority stake in the company to private equity firm Elevation Partners. 

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