Vimeo
LinkedIn
Instagram
Share |

The family behind the billionaire list not so rich

The family-owned business behind Forbes, publishers of the annual list of the richest people in the world, are looking decidedly less rich themselves these days.

The family-owned business behind Forbes, publishers of the annual list of the richest people in the world, are looking decidedly less rich themselves these days.

That’s according to an investigative piece in Fortune magazine, which said that Forbes Media violated covenants on a revolving credit line it took out in 2006 and is saddled with big debts.

There’s little doubt that Forbes, which is in its third generation of family ownership, is offloading assets faster than the fortunes of the billionaires it chronicles are going up.

The family members have got rid of the world’s largest private collection of Fabergé eggs, an island in the Fiji archipelago, a custom Boeing 727 and Forbes’s Fifth Avenue headquarters. In London, they’ve put Old Battersea House and much of the artwork that hangs on the walls of the Grade-II listed home on the market.

Forbes has also sold off publishing business Investopedia.

Fortune might have its own axe to grind. The Time Warner-owned publication is suffering from declined circulation and ad revenue – and Forbes is one of its biggest competitors.

The publishing business that thrived under second generation and charismatic Malcolm Forbes is in need of some fresh ideas of where to take the business next – but that’s unlikely to come from a family member. Third generation Steve Forbes was recently forced to step down from the chief executive role and his three brothers are unlikely to take a controlling role, say insiders.

By no means is Forbes a case of rags to riches and back to rags in three generations, but the family appear to be displaying little if any management skill at a crucial time for the business, making a fourth generation of ownership a distant likelihood. 

Click here >>
Close