(Adds value of the deal)
By Jennifer Saba
July 18 Forbes magazine's publisher has agreed
to sell a majority stake of its media business to a Hong
Kong-based group of investors for an undisclosed sum, Forbes
Media said on Friday, capping an eight-month hunt for a buyer
for the company.
The Forbes family, which founded the magazine 97 years ago,
is retaining a "significant" interest in the company and remains
an active part of management, Forbes Media said in a statement.
Steve Forbes will continue to serve as chairman and
The buyer is a newly formed consortium out of Hong Kong
called Integrated Whale Media Investments, led by Integrated
Asset Management, an investment company that focuses on the
technology, finance and telecommunications sectors, and Wayne
Hsieh, the co-founder of Asustek Computer Inc.
Forbes Media said it will retain its name and will remain a
privately-held, independent company headquartered in the United
States. Chief Executive Officer Mike Perlis will continue to
lead the company's management team. Forbes' Asian business will
continue to be directed from Singapore under Forbes Media's Asia
CEO Will Adamopoulos.
"Our partners respect our brand and values, and support our
long-standing mission of championing entrepreneurship and free
market capitalism through quality, independent business
journalism," Steve Forbes said in a statement.
"The best evidence of their commitment to what we stand for
is their insistence on the continued involvement of the Forbes
family, the current management and our highly talented editorial
team. I will remain deeply involved in the future of the
The deal means that Elevation Partners, the private equity
firm that counts U2 singer Bono as one of its founders, has
exited the company. In 2006, it invested $264 million for a 45
percent stake before a downturn racked the print industry as
advertisers directed their budgets to the digital field.
When Forbes first announced it was going on the auction
block in November, a source familiar with the matter at the time
said the company was hoping for a sale in the range of $400
million to $500 million.
It is not known whether that goal was reached, but a person
familiar with the deal said the transaction values the company
at $475 million.
Forbes magazine, known for its annual list of the world's
wealthiest people and as an unabashed promoter of capitalism,
has in recent years been making a big digital push with its
website. However, it still must surmount the high hurdles facing
magazine publishers everywhere, particularly the declines in
readership and advertising revenue.
Last year, Forbes magazine's advertising revenue fell 5
percent to about $260 million on a 10 percent drop in ad pages,
according to estimates from the Publisher's Information Bureau.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Jonathan
Oatis and Paul Simao)