Forbes magazine, which has been owned and operated by its namesake family for 96 years, is reportedly up for sale. The company of two-time presidential also-ran Steve Forbes, is looking for about $400 million from potential suitors, according to a report from Bloomberg.com.
The sale seems to continue the trend of giant media companies unloading their "legacy" print properties in the face of spiraling revenue and the inevitable crush of the digital age. However, unlike it familiar newsstand neighbors like Businessweek, Time, and Newsweek, Forbes Media is not just one cog is some larger conglomerate empire. The magazine and the website is pretty much all they do.
And it isn't doing that badly. They apparently have a lot of interested buyers, if an internal memo (posted by Capital New York) is any indication. The memo claims there have many informal offers already and "the frequency and serious nature of these overtures have brought us to a decision point." Revenue is not where it was in the old days, as is the case all over the media landscape (down 19 percent since 2008, according to Bloomberg), but is not non-existent, and the website allegedly brings in around 26 million readers a month. It may not be the business it once was, but it still seems to be a viable property.
Plus, there's the brand value, which has always been tied to that now famous Forbes name. The sale would likely mean the end of family control that began when Steve's grandfather, B.C. Forbes founded the magazine in 1917. His son, Malcolm, made it a media and economic powerhouse, synonymous with wealth itself, and Steve remains editor-in-chief to this day. There's no word yet on whether he wishes to remain on the editorial side or ride off into retirement,
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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