Hong Kong-Based Investor Group to Acquire Majority Stake in Forbes Media

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Steve Forbes

As part of the deal, believed to value the owner of Forbes magazine at $475 million, investment firm Elevation, whose partners include U2's Bono, will sell its stake.

Ending seven months of speculation, the owners of Forbes magazine have officially agreed to sell a majority stake in the media company to a Hong Kong-based international investor group. 

The newly formed investor group, Integrated Whale Media Investments, is led by Integrated Asset Management (Asia), founded by Tak Cheung Yam. It has expertise in the telecommunications, finance and technology sectors. Another major investor is Wayne Hsieh,  co-founder of PC vendor ASUSTeK Computer in Singapore.

Financial details weren't disclosed, but the The New York Times reported that the deal values the company at $475 million. The Forbes family will continue to own a significant stake, the deal partners said in a statement without providing further details.

As part of the agreement, investment firm Elevation Partners, whose partners include U2 singer Bono, will sell its minority stake, which it had acquired in 2006 for $264 million.

The venerable media brand, founded in 1917, is famous for its cover profiles and its Forbes 400 list ranking the world's wealthiest individuals. Recently, the company has focused on its digital growth and expanding its conference business, including a Forbes 400 summit on philanthropy. 

On Nov. 15 of last year, Forbes CEO Mike Perlis publicly announced the intention for the magazine to be sold, with Deutsche Bank representing the media company. The family had been initially seeking $400 million to $500 million in a sale, according to reports by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal at the time.

Perlis will remain CEO, with Steve Forbes continuing as chairman and editor-in-chief. 

Over the past several years, the website of the magazine has undergone a dramatic overhaul, emphasizing the Forbes site as a publishing platform that allows businesses, marketers and writers to publish their own articles with minimal oversight. 

In May 2010, Forbes Media acquired the blog network True/Slant, which had 300 freelance contributors at the time. True/Slant's founder, Lewis DVorkin, became the chief product officer of Forbes, presiding over several web redesigns, the introduction of BrandVoice — a marketing platform — and expansion of its contributor network.

The website reached 26 million monthly unique visitors worldwide in December 2013, according to comScore figures cited by the company.