Forbes Media LLC announced today that it has agreed to sell a majority stake in the company to a group of international investors.
The Forbes family "will retain a significant ownership stake" and "stay actively involved in Forbes Media," working with the investment group to increase market share of existing Forbes properties and on brand extensions.
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the primary investment group is Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM), an international investment group led by Integrated Asset Management (Asia) Limited (IAM), "a Hong Kong-based investment company primarily engaged in public and private equity investments" founded by Tak Cheung Yam. Integrated Whale Media Investments will provide capital, financial and operational experience. Forbes reported "its best financial performance in the last six years" in 2013, and IWM looks to expand on the company's recent success by leveraging "its international relationships to strategically enlarge Forbes Media’s reach on a global scale."
Forbes will remain an independent company headquartered in the United States, and its existing management team will remain in place, with Steve Forbes continuing as chairman and editor-in-chief and Mike Perlis continuing as president and CEO. The company's Asian business will still be directed out of Singapore with Will Adamopoulos remaining Forbes Media CEO/Asia. "Elevation Partners will fully exit its investment in Forbes Media" upon closing, Forbes added.
Bloomberg News reported back in November that Forbes was looking for a buyer for its magazine and website, and that the company "hired Deutsche Bank AG to examine a sale after receiving interest from potential buyers, according to a memo sent to employees by Chief Executive Officer Mike Perlis." The Bloomberg family sold a stake in the company back in 2006.
According to Bloomberg News, the company was seeking $400 million in a sale, although individuals close to the matter claimed they would have trouble landing half that price. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was seeking $400 to $500 million in sale. Back in 2004, the Forbes family turned down a $400 million buyout offer from fashion publisher Condé Nast Inc., claiming the price wasn't high enough, according to The Fall of the House of Forbes author Stewart Pinkerton.
"This is a major milestone for the company and our family, and we’re pleased to partner with a forward-looking investor group to further drive the evolution and growth of this exceptional company," said Steve Forbes. "Our partners respect our brand and values, and support our longstanding mission of championing entrepreneurship and free market capitalism through quality, independent business journalism."
IAM founder and chairman Tak Cheung Yam added: "Forbes Media is built around a brand that is synonymous with success and a mission that has tremendous respect and global appeal in established and growing markets around the world. As more market-based economies emerge globally, interest in the information that Forbes provides and the message it delivers resonates with a growing audience."