Connect to share and comment

Forbes magazine publisher seeks buyer


Forbes Media, a prominent chronicler of great wealth through its magazine and other media, has put itself up for sale, the company's chief executive said Friday.

The family-owned Forbes hired Deutsche Bank to represent it after receiving a number of informal inquiries from possible suitors in recent months, Forbes Media CEO Mike Perlis said in a memo to employees.

"The frequency and serious nature of these overtures have brought us to a decision point," Perlis wrote.

"We're organizing a process to test the waters regarding a sale of Forbes Media," said Perlis, adding that the company expects "interest from numerous suitors."

A sale would involve Forbes Magazine, which dates to 1917, as well as the company's digital properties and conference business. Forbes is also known for its annual ranking of billionaires.

Perlis said Forbes had done well in a shifting media landscape, growing its digital revenues over 25 percent by the end of the year. The company expects 2013 to be its best year financially in six years.

Forbes touts itself for its unparalleled access to the rich and powerful, boasting on its website of an "unbroken string of agenda-setting cover stories" with Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos and other luminaries.

"What distinguishes Forbes from other media brands is our exceptional access to the world's most powerful people-the game changers and disruptors who are advancing industries across the globe," Forbes said on its website.

Forbes marketing literature cited a 2012 "affluent survey" that rated Forbes' "Total Affluent Audience" at 1.2 million, ahead of Fortune with 1.1 million and Business Week with 1.0 million.

The literature also said the company has more than 1,000 staff writers and commentators and that the company's innovative approach to social media has won numerous adherents. Unique visits to the site have risen from 12 million to 26 million in he last three years, Perlis said in his note.

The editor of the flagship magazine is Steve Forbes, 66, a two-time presidential candidate known for promoting a "flat" income tax.

The magazine rose to prominence under Steve Forbes's father Malcolm Forbes, an unabashed promoter of free markets, with a lavish lifestyle, who had his personal jet named "Capitalist Tool."

Malcolm Forbes, who died in 1990, was known for collecting motorcycles, Faberge eggs and hot air balloons, and owned a chateau in Normandy.

The publication was launched in 1917 by Malcolm Forbes's father, Scottish immigrant B.C. Forbes.