Forbes Media Announces Plan To Sell Family-Run Company For $400M To $500M

on November 16 2013 10:46 AM
Steve Forbes
Forbes Media Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes speaks during a news conference before the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 12, 2011. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

Family-owned Forbes Media LLC, which is known for its business magazine that ranks the world’s wealthiest individuals, is looking for a buyer.

Chief Executive Mike Perlis, in a memo to employees Friday, said the company has hired Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) to sell the company for an estimated $400 million to $500 million, Reuters reported.

The company, which was established in 1917 by financial columnist B.C. Forbes, sold a 45 percent stake to the private equity firm Elevation Partners in 2006, and has been trying to increase its reader base online, at a time when the market for the printing and publishing business is shrinking rapidly.

“It's a bit stunning when a brand as old as Forbes that has been family-held as long as Forbes has opens itself up to a new ownership structure,” Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at the research firm Altimeter Group, told Agence France-Presse. “It's a very, very venerable brand.”

The sale is expected finance the repayment of a $264 million investment Elevation Partners made in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. Elevation’s minority stake in Forbes is worth $30 million, the Journal said.

The announcement follows the sale of family-controlled Washington Post to Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), in October, marking the end of 80 years of the Graham family’s ownership of the paper.

The Forbes family received an offer worth $400 million to sell to fashion publisher Conde Nast Inc., a subsidiary of Newhouse family-owned Advance, in 2004, but the offer was turned down, Bloomberg reported.

Perlis, who joined the company in 2010 as the first person outside the Forbes family to run the company, said he expects its online revenues to rise by more than 25 percent by the end of 2013.

The editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine is Steve Forbes, 66, who was twice a candidate for the nomination of the Republican Party for president.