Forbes, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has made a $200 million strategic investment in the 104-year-old magazine and digital publisher.
According to people familiar with the transaction, the funds would assist Forbes in carrying out its merger plans with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
Investors have become more skeptical of SPACs in general, and of media deals in particular, in recent months, as the stock market has retreated.
According to people familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified until the deal is announced, Forbes announced in August that $400 million in institutional investment commitments would be replaced by Binance and some other investors.
Binance is one of the first two largest owners of Forbes, as it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “FRBS.” According to the announcement, the crypto company will be given nine board seats.
This move demonstrates that cryptocurrency has a real-world impact, as it has been a source of skyrocketing valuations and the creation of billionaires amid the global interest in digital assets. It is the first time a cryptocurrency company has invested in a traditional US media property, though others have done so in the past.
Steve Forbes, the company’s founder and editor-in-chief, was a two-time presidential candidate whose grandfather founded Forbes more than a century ago. Forbes sold 95 percent of its stake to Integrated Whale Media in 2014 for $475 million.
Forbes, known for its flagship magazine and contributor-based digital publishing model, has taken steps to diversify its revenue through licensing agreements, e-commerce, and direct-to-consumer efforts. The company claims to reach 150 million people through its content and events.
Forbes is also well-known for publishing an annual list of the world’s wealthiest businessmen.
Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, has recently entered this category. Bloomberg News estimated his net worth to be $96 billion last month. Taking his own cryptocurrency holdings out of the picture, this makes