Analysis OPA.U

Private investors plot Forbes buyout

, Axios

Investment firm GSV is working on a bid to buy Forbes Media at a $620 million valuation as an alternative to Forbes' announced SPAC merger, Axios has learned.

BuzzFeed's public listing last week added to growing skepticism about the SPAC market for media companies. Its shares are down roughly 40% from its opening price, and 94% of investors redeemed their stock following the merger news.

The bid is led by GSV Asset Management CEO Michael Moe, with participation from "top family offices and institutional investors," according to a pitch a participating investor is circulating to others and seen by Axios.

The deal would value Forbes at $620 million, slightly less than the $630 million valuation Forbes would get via its merger with Magnum Opus.

According to the pitch, the first tranche is set to close on Dec. 31, and the second in March 2022.

Forbes Media communications chief Bill Hankes declined to comment when asked whether the company is in communication with GSV about a potential deal.

The SPAC merger is structured so that Forbes’ majority owner Yam Tak Cheung — also known as TC Yam — could take out a roughly $400 million secondary round from funds secured via the acquisition.

But its merger presentation notes that any redemptions from investors will impact the amount of secondary proceeds he or other shareholders will receive.

Sources have told Axios that the dynamic between Yam and Steve Forbes, the media company's chairman and former CEO, has been on shaky ground for years and that there's been friction between the two when it comes to deals.

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