Updated: Nov 25, 2022
Forbes Media is in exclusive talks to sell to a consortium of investors led by India-based SUN Group and GSV Ventures in a deal worth up to $800 million.
Why it matters: Forbes Media is known for its magazine and lists that rank everything from billionaires to colleges. Once a family-owned media empire was sold to a Hong Kong investment firm (Integrated Whale Media) for $475 Million. Now is one step closer to cashing out, as it has been attempting for years.
The company has been undergoing a digital transformation amid declining print revenue. Its website reaches more than 140 million people with its 49 global editions.
What happened: Following a chaotic path that resulted in a failed SPAC earlier this year, Forbes had been seeking at least $800 million in a sale, The New York Times reported earlier, citing two people familiar with the matter.
This $800 million would be significantly higher than the $630 million valuation Forbes would have gotten in the SPAC merger with Magnum Opus Acquisition Ltd, the blank check company.
About the deal: Forbes bidding consortium includes SUN Group, a family-owned Indian media giant, and GSV Ventures, a U.S.-based investment firm, according to Reuters.
Sun Group is a publically listed company in India that owns 48 radio stations, 2 newspapers, 5 magazines, and a cricket team worth $4.4 Billion.
GSV Venture primarily invests in Ed-Tech companies, Some of which include Photomath, Coursera, and Masterclass.
By the numbers: The revenue for the year 2021 saw a rise of 40% to $259 million as compared to $185 million in 2020 and the net income stood at $38 million.
The adjusted EBITDA saw an increase of 86% to $60 million in 2021 compared to the adjusted EBITDA of $33 million for the previous year.
Forbes also owns 40% of Marketplace, a company that provides information and reviews to consumers on topics such as personal finance, health, and investing.
In 2019, it acquired a majority stake in an investing app Q.ai.
Conclusion: Given the backdrop of the failed $600 million SPAC deal, Forbes's next move is bound to be watched with anticipation. What one needs to look out for henceforth is whether Integrated Whale Media, which bought a 95% stake in Forbes from the Forbes family in 2014, will continue to retain any stake in the company post the deal.