Forbes mag up for sale

Written by Agencies | New York | Updated: Nov 17 2013, 08:48am hrs
Forbes Media, which publishes the Forbes magazine, best known for its annual billionaire and power lists, is up for sale and hopes to generate at least $400 million through the move.

Forbes Media's CEO Michael Perlis wrote in an email to staff the company has received "more than a few 'over the transom' indications of interest to buy Forbes Media". "The frequency and serious nature of these overtures have brought us to a decision point. We're organising a process to test the waters regarding a sale of Forbes Media," said Perlis, the first non-member to run the Forbes family-owned 96-year-old business magazine.

Forbes has hired Deutsche Bank to represent the firm in the sale and expects interest from "numerous suitors".

A New York Times report said that according to a person familiar with the sale process, Forbes Media is expected to generate at least $400 million with the sale.

Time is being touted as among the potential buyers for Forbes after Forbes Media executives were seen at the Time headquarters.

Founded in 1917 by BC Forbes, Forbes is among the most powerful names in business journalism. The company hired Perlis in December 2010 to help restructure the firm and the current year is expected to mark the company's best financial performance in the last six years, strengthened by revenue growth in digital as well as licensing and conferences.

Under Perlis, the company has established a huge digital audience and in the last three years, unique visitors to Forbes.com have increased from 12 million to 26 million.

Perlis said digital revenues are expected to increase over 25% by the end of the year. "Our efforts have also focused on diversifying our revenue streams to complement our advertising-based businesses and many of our initiatives have come to fruition this year. I will share more details about the interest in our company as events unfold," he said in the memo.

The company has a contributor network of 1,200 bloggers. If the sale goes through, it would be another example of an iconic print publication changing hands.

The New York Times had this year sold its New England Media Group holdings, including The Boston Globe to businessman John Henry for $70 million while The Washington Post sold its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million. The Bancroft family also sold The Wall Street Journal in 2007.

Changing hands

*Forbes expects to generate at least $400 m via sale; Time is being touted as a potential buyer after Forbes executives were seen at its headquarters

*The NYT sold its New England Media Group holdings, including The Boston Globe, to John Henry for $70 m this year

*The Washington Post also sold its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos for $250 m