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Forbes sells just shy of 100 years of family ownership

The Forbes family has sold a controlling stake in its eponymous media empire to a Hong Kong-based consortium of international investors, bringing to an end 97 years of family ownership.
Steve Forbes, grandson of the company’s founder.
Press Association

The Forbes family has sold a controlling stake in its eponymous media empire to a Hong Kong-based consortium of international investors, bringing to an end 97 years of family ownership.

According to a statement released on Friday, the Forbes family will maintain a “significant stake” in the firm, while newly formed Integrated Whale Media Investments will assume control for an undisclosed figure.

The New York Timesreported that the transaction was valued at $475 million (€351 million), according to an individual close to the deal.

Steve Forbes, grandson of the company’s founder, will retain his role as chairman and editor-in-chief, alongside Mike Perlis, who will continue as chief executive.

"While today marks a fundamental turning point in this 97-year-old company founded by my grandfather, it should be seen as an opportunity to continue and strengthen our mission," Steve Forbes said in a blog post.

The deal also sees minority shareholder Elevation Partners, who purchased their stake for $264 million in 2006, recoup the bulk of their investment.

Forbes put the company on the market last November, with a number of bids reaching $200 million, but needed to buy out Elevation Partners.

The successful buyer, Integrated Whale Media Investments, founded by Tak Cheung Yam through investment company Integrated Asset Managment, said it would provide capital and digital expertise in order to enlarge Forbes’global reach.

“Given the tremendous growth of digital in the past decade, Forbes Media’s future plans will include additional internet and social media expansion projects,” said Yam.

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

B C Forbes founded the company in 1917, but it was his son, the flamboyant Malcolm Forbes, who is credited with increasing the circulation of their publications.

In 2013, Forbes Media achieved its best financial performance in six years. The publisher said it reaches 75 million people worldwide each month through various channels.

Forbes will continue to be headquartered in the US, but announced plans to expand internationally.


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