Forbes Sold to Hong Kong-Based Integrated Whale

'Very Ambitious' Global Expansion Plans Ahead

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The Forbes family and its backers have agreed to sell a majority stake in Forbes Media, including the iconic namesake magazine, to a Hong Kong-based investment group.

"We're very happy that we found a partner that shares our values and our vision and our strategy, and is here to back us," said Mark Howard, chief revenue officer at Forbes Media. He declined to disclose the price paid or the size of the majority stake acquired by the buyer, Integrated Whale Media Investments.

The buyers paid more than $300 million for the stake, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Integrated Whale Media Investments is led by Integrated Asset Management Limited, a Hong Kong-based investment company focused on telecommunications, finance and tech, Forbes Media said.

A spokeswoman for Forbes Media said the buyers are not speaking with media.

The Forbes family, which founded the magazine in 1917, will retain a "significant" stake in the company, according to a statement Friday morning. But the deal finally provides a complete exit for Elevation Partners, the private equity group partly owned by U2 lead singer Bono. It bought a minority stake in the company in 2006, only to see the value of its investment fall as recession hit and the magazine business swooned.

The sale process, which began last November, eventually centered on wealthy overseas buyers, which seemed more likely to pay a high prices than U.S. investors.

Forbes will continue to be based in the U.S., with Steve Forbes continuing as chairman and editor-in-chief and Mike Perlis continuing as president-CEO. "The entire editorial and business operations remain intact," Mr. Howard said.

But the company has "very ambitious" international expansion plans, Mr. Howard added.

"As more market-based economies emerge globally, interest in the information that Forbes provides and the message it delivers resonates with a growing audience," said Take Cheung Yam, chairman and founder of Integrated Asset Management, in the statement. "Given the tremendous growth of digital in the past decade, Forbes MEdia's future plans will include additional internet and social media expansion projects."

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