Forbes Media puts itself up for sale with $400m price tag

Forbes , which publishes the well-known financial magazine, said it had appointed Deutsche Bank to ‘test the waters’ by running a sale process

Forbes Media, the publisher of the eponymous business magazine, has put itself up for sale for close to $400 million after receiving interest from potential buyers.

In a memo to staff yesterday, Mike Perlis, Forbes' chief executive, said the company had received "more than a few" expressions of interest from potential suitors, adding that "the frequency and serious nature of these overtures have brought us to a decision point".

The company, which is privately owned by the heirs of BC Forbes, who founded the publication in 1917, said it had appointed Deutsche Bank to "test the waters" by running a sale process. According to people familiar with the matter, it is entertaining bids at or above $400 million.

The 66-year-old Steve Forbes is chairman of the company, editor in chief of Forbes magazine and grandson of the founder.

The news publishing industry has endured a tough period, marked by declining advertising revenues, falling circulation and the proliferation of non-traditional media platforms.

As a result, several high profile titles, including BusinessWeek, Newsweek and Maxim, have been sold during the past three years, often for little money.

Forbes' US advertising sales were $275 million last year, down 19 per cent since 2008, according to the Publisher's Information Bureau. Unique visitors to have grown from 12 million to 26 million, according to ComScore figures quoted by the company.

Mr Perlis said he expected this year to mark “our best financial performance in the last six years,” with 25 per cent growth in digital revenues and increases in licensing and conference revenues as it seeks to diversify from depending on advertising revenues.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the process, which was first reported by Bloomberg. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013