Caixin
Oct 17, 2017 06:29 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Shenzhen-Listed Firm Bids for Minority Stake in Forbes

A China-listed media company plans to buy a 10% stake in the century-old U.S. publishing giant Forbes Media.

Yinji Entertainment & Media, a Shenzhen-listed unit of U.S.-based DMG Entertainment, is setting up a $256 million investment fund with DMG’s Hong Kong unit in hopes of acquiring the Forbes stake, Yinji said in a stock exchange filing.

The plan calls for the fund to buy a company called FBS Entertainment and Leisure which, in turn, would buy the Forbes stake.

Through FBS, according to the filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Yinji plans to hold the “greater China” rights to the Forbes brand, which was founded by a financial columnist of the same name in 1917. “Greater China” was not defined.

The proposed deal is designed to support Yinji’s goal of “creating a global, high-level concept entertainment brand,” according to the filing.

Forbes, best known as a business magazine publisher, has been a buyout target more than once in recent years.

In January, Reuters reported that the Chinese airline-real estate-investment conglomerate HNA Group was considering buying a controlling stake in Forbes for at least $400 million.

But the HNA offer was apparently rebuffed by the media company’s controlling stakeholder, Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments, which bought 95% of Forbes in 2014. Sources told Caixin at the time that Integrated Whale wanted to sell only a minority share and keep the controlling stake.

Yinji’s move is set against the backdrop of recent, high-profile attempts by Chinese media and entertainment companies to buy similar companies in the United States. Some of these deals have drawn opposition from Chinese authorities trying to limit overseas investment by Chinese firms as well as U.S. authorities concerned about Chinese company agendas.

China’s Wanda Group recently offered, but later retracted, a $1 billion offer for the American TV production firm Dick Clark Productions. And in September, Shenzhen-listed Recon Wenyuan Cable said it would abandon a proposed $100 million deal for Los Angeles-based movie producer Millennium Films.

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)

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