Forbes goes outside family for funds

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The Independent Online

The Forbes family is searching for an outside investor to buy into the $1bn (£540m) publishing empire, whose flagship is the eponymous financial magazine.

Media investors around the globe will be salivating at the prospect. Forbes magazine ranks with BusinessWeek, Fortune and The Economist as one of the strongest brands in the financial publications sector, commanding advertising revenues of over $250m a year. It also has a well- regarded website and publishes authoritative lists of the richest people in the world.

It is expected that any deal will value the business - 51 per cent owned by the publisher-in-chief, Steve Forbes, with the rest held by relatives - at around $1bn.

The magazine was founded in 1917 by B C Forbes, who ran it until his death in 1954. His son, Bruce, was in charge until 1964, when he was succeeded by his son, Malcolm.

Steve, Malcolm's son, took over in 1990 and has used the magazine as a launchpad for his political ambitions, twice failing to win the Republican nomination for presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. His brand of right-wing, free-market politics includes an anti-abortion stance, and advocating a flat-tax system and an anti-United Nations foreign policy.

The move to bring in fresh capital is expected to herald an expansion of the franchise into Europe. Last year, in order to grow in the Far East, Forbes Global was rebranded as Forbes Asia. This leaves the group with no title for the European market.

It mirrors an attempt in 2002 to find an investor to buy a quarter of the company, which was quietly dropped.

A spokeswoman for the publisher declined to discuss any specific plans but said: "Forbes, like many companies, has had discussions from time to time with potential partners."