Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 10 News List

HNA in talks to acquire ‘Forbes’ publisher IWM

Reuters, HONG KONG

Acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group (海航集團) is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the owner of the publisher of Forbes magazine, two sources with knowledge of the matter told reporters.

Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM, 本匯鯨媒體投資公司), which holds 95 percent of Forbes Media, is also in talks with another Chinese media firm and is scouting for more potential buyers for most or all of its stake, said one of the sources, who declined to be identified as the talks are confidential.

Reuters was not able to confirm the names of the other possible bidders.

HNA, ranked 353rd in last year’s Fortune 500 list of the world’s largest companies, has been in discussions for a couple of weeks with IWM for a deal worth at least US$400 million, the source said.

IWM and Forbes Media declined to comment, while HNA did not respond to a request for comment.

The move comes three years after the Forbes family, which founded the US financial magazine 100 years ago, gave up its controlling stake in Forbes Media to IWM.

That transaction valued the Forbes company at US$475 million, a source familiar with the transaction has said.

HNA, which has more than US$100 billion in assets, has been on an acquisition spree as it expands out of its traditional business of aviation and logistics into financial, media and cultural sectors.

Late last year, HNA Capital Holding Co (海航資本控股), the group’s financial arm, bought an 80 percent stake in Beijing Lianban Caixun Cultural Media (北京聯辦文化傳媒), a media firm that runs the Web site of influential financial magazine Caijing (財經), for an undisclosed sum, data at China’s state-run corporate register showed.

“Going forward, HNA will continue to scout for good-quality domestic and international media assets,” the second source said. “HNA wants to display publications owned or invested by it on its planes, in its hotels across the world.”

The media deals are taking place at a time when Beijing is flexing its “soft power” to extend its global influence.

Last year, China Central Television, the country’s largest TV network, said it would launch a new global media platform to help rebrand China overseas.

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