Forbes To Go Public Via Merger With Magnum Opus Acquisition Ltd

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, CNBC Television

Forbes Global Media Holdings, one of the oldest media outlets in the US, announced Thursday it will go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Magnum Opus Acquisition Ltd (NYSE:  OPA) in a deal that values the combined entity at $630 million. 

The deal, which is expected to raise $600 million in gross proceeds for the media company, includes a private placement of $400 million.

After the transaction’s expected close at the end of 2021 or early in 2022, Forbes will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FRBS.

Forbes’ existing management team will stay in place under the leadership of chief executive officer Mike Federle and, once combined, new independent board directors will be announced.

Founded in 1917 by financial journalist Bertie Charles Forbes, the company’s flagship business magazine is still best known for its annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest people. Over the years, it has evolved from a print publication into a digital media company that reaches more than 150 million people with its 45 global editions. 

“It has been exciting to watch the Forbes management team successfully complete a digital transformation since we have been involved, and then deliver record annual returns,” said TC Yam, executive chairman of Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments, which acquired a majority stake in Forbes in 2014.  

In May, Reuters reported that US merchant bank GSV was in talks to acquire Forbes for about $650 million.  

At the time, the media company declined to comment on any negotiations, but said “investors have consistently shown interest in Forbes, which has produced three years of record results,” adding that “2021 is shaping up to be a strong year as well.”

On Thursday, Forbes said the merger with Magnum Opus will enable it to “further capitalize” on its digital transformation. The company said it plans to use the new funds to engage users via “memberships and recurring subscriptions to premium content and highly targeted product offerings.”

In a statement, Federle said, “Forbes has been executing a data-led platform strategy and is fast becoming the gateway for businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers to join the conversations and participate in the trends that are shaping the world today.”

“With this transition into a publicly traded company, Forbes will have the capital to accelerate growth by executing its differentiated content and platform strategy and fully realize the potential of our iconic brand.”

Magnum Opus is an affiliate of Hong Kong and Shanghai-based L2 Capital, which is run by co-founders Jonathan Lin, former managing director at Point72; Frank Han, former senior principal at Blackstone Group; and Kevin Lee, former head of venture investments at Gallant Investment Partners.

The merger comes amid a wave of digital media deals, including German publisher Axel Springer’s announcement that it is buying political news website Politico for about $1 billion. 

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Last week, Nextstar Media announced the acquisition of The Hill in a $130 million deal. 

According to CNBC, several digital publishers, including Vox Media, Vice Media, Buzzfeed and Bustle Digital Group, have considered making a public market debut via a SPAC. 

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Source: Equities News

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