Caixin
Mar 30, 2017 05:38 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Hong Kong Owner of Forbes Media Plans to Maintain Control: Source

(Beijing) — The Hong Kong-based owner of Forbes Media is interested in selling a stake in the company but wants to maintain a controlling share of the U.S. publishing giant, a knowledgeable source told Caixin.

The source detailed current owner Integrated Whale Media Investments’ thinking to Caixin after a Reuters report said Whale was interested in selling most or all of its 95% stake in Forbes.

The latest developments follow the January resolution of a long-running dispute between Whale and the Forbes family following the latter’s sale of the Forbes Media stake to the former in 2014. That dispute had centered over Whale’s payments for the purchase, which was reportedly worth more than $400 million.

Since settlement of the dispute, a number of potential investors have approached Whale about buying a stake in Forbes, the source close to Whale said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

Reuters had reported earlier this week that HNA Group, one of China’s most acquisitive buyers of global assets, was in talks to buy a controlling stake of Forbes.

That report said Whale was also in talks with another media firm and was scouting for other potential buyers. Representatives from Whale and HNA had no comment on the matter.

An approach by HNA or other Chinese buyers would mark at least the second time a mainland-based investor was interested in Forbes. During the initial sale by the Forbes family in 2014, Shanghai-based private equity firm Fosun International was reportedly making a bid for the company, even though Whale ultimately emerged as the buyer.

Contact writer: Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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