Pressured press: Forbes up for sale, expects $400mn
President and CEO Mike Perlis sent out an internal company letter
on Sunday saying “we're organizing a process to test the
waters regarding a sale of Forbes Media.” The note also said
the media outlet has hired Deutsche Bank to broker the sale and
there are already a number of interested buyers.
Forbes is hoping to raise at least $400 million, but half of that sum looks much more realistic, Bloomberg says citing its sources.
In 2004, the family received a $400 million buyout offer from
fashion publisher Conde Nast Inc., but little is known
about the identity of the future "numerous suitors."
The profit dipping trophy bi-weekly investment magazine has been in print since 1917 and is famous for its ‘World’s Richest’ lists and brands itself as America’s "leading business magazine".
Weekly circulation is more than 930,000.
The family operated magazine was founded by B.C. Forbes and later, his son, Malcolm Forbes, published the weekly. Malcolm was well-known for his lavish spending- hot air balloons, Faberge eggs, Victorian art, real-estate in Colorado and Normandy and a motorcycle collection were among a few of the prized possessions that were later sold off.
Print on sale
The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and Newsweek changed hands
in August 2013. Shortly after this wave of sales rumors started
circulating that The New York Times was also up for sale, which
the paper denied.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, also family-owned for
decades, for $250 million. Boston Red Sox owner John Henry picked
up the Boston Globe for $70 million. Both prices were thought to
be under valuations, demonstrating in the print news industry
it’s a buyers, not a seller market.
Businessweek, founded in 1929, was sold to Bloomberg LP in 2009,
and Maxim, a men’s health journal, was sold to Darden Media Group
in September 2013.
The rise of the digital era has killed print ad sales, which
before were a main source of revenue for media outlets like The
New York Times, The Washington Post, and Forbes.
Print ads have fallen 34 percent since 2008, and advertising
sales in 2012 were $275 million.
In recent years, Forbes has been making a concerted effort to
take steps away from its print publication and ramp up efforts on
its digit projects.
Its online edition has grown tremendously, from about 12 million
unique monthly visitors in 2010 up to 26 million, according to
data from ComScore.
Forbes has been pushing its international sales and has expanded
online content across Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Digital
advertising accounts for 55 percent of total advertising revenue.
A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report predicts online spending
will more than double to $5.9 billion in 2017, up from $2.3
billion in 2012.
In an interview with The New York Times this week, a Forbes
spokesperson projected online advertising revenue would increase
by 35 percent through 2013.