Elevation Partners, a private equity firm, headed by Roger McNamee that counts Bono as an investor has bought a big chunk of Forbes, reports the New York Times. PaidContent says that the private equity group could have paid as much as $300 million for 40% of Forbes Media, a new company that has been floated by the Forbes Family.
The price while a bit of a whopper is nothing close to what the Forbes family could have gotten in the 1990s bubble. There were rumors of a mega-billion dollar offer from some of the richest men in the world. One of the notable aspects of the deal with the Forbes.com, the online media property which has been rumored to be the revenue driver for the company. “It was clear from talking with Mr. McNamee that his group was buying into a Web site with a magazine attached, as opposed to the other way around,” writes the New York Times.
The news of the sale, brought back some fond memories from the early days of Forbes.com, when just a handful of us helped launch the website, and worked endless hours to turn it into a legitimate news source. Many of us have gone to bigger and better things in life, but it was something special. Forbes.com very quickly became a news source that inspired a movie and helped bolster online media’s reputation. The New York Times’ story conjured up memories of late night sessions of The Age of Empires over the Forbes LAN. The stench of leftover pizza still lingers, much like the choice cuss words that flew at NetObjects.
The Times says the company invested tens of millions of dollars in digital strategy and that did not pan out. While it might be true, for most of the early days we were on a shoestring budget. A parade of journeymen executives cost the company its IPO during one of the biggest booms in the history. Nevertheless, there was one man, who is missing from all the headlines – Tim Forbes. He was the real driver of the online strategy and a true believer. A tip of the hat to him would be in order, for that digital strategy has become a viable exit strategy as The Times points out.