Austin Russell acquires majority stake in Forbes magazine

Austin Russell, the Founder and CEO of Luminar
Austin Russell, the Founder and CEO of Luminar

American innovator and automotive tech industry pioneer Austin Russell, the Founder and CEO of Luminar, and Hong-Kong based Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM) recently announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of majority ownership in Forbes Global Media Holdings in a transaction valuing the company at nearly $800 million. Mr. Russell will hold an 82% interest in the entity that controls the global media platform upon closing of the transaction, bringing ownership back to the United States and with a renewed focus of helping shape the next generation of capitalism where financial success and building value for the world both intersect. All capital for the acquisition has been fully committed and independent of his stake in Luminar.

“For over 100 years, Forbes has served as the authority representing success and business news at a global scale, and I’m honored to be selected by the owners as the new steward of the brand,” said Mr. Russell. “Today, success should no longer represent wealth accumulation at any cost, but instead be defined by how value is created and the positive ripple effects it can have. My hope is that Forbes can continue to even better serve its readership by helping objectively inform, recognize, and challenge leaders to tackle society’s biggest challenges under this mission, with high quality content as well as platforms for its business-focused community.”

Mr. Russell has previously been recognized by Forbes on its cover, Forbes 30 under 30 list, and as the youngest self-made billionaire. Last year he was recognized on the Philanthropy 50 list of the top charitable donors in America.

Mr. Russell will act as a visionary for the brand, and will not be involved in its day-to-day operations. To help guide the company into its next chapter, Forbes will empower a new board consisting of American media, tech, and AI experts at the top of their fields. IWM will also keep one board seat in conjunction with their retained minority stake. Forbes’ platform is profitable and growing with multiple verticals beyond publishing that range from real estate to financial services. The brand will look to attract some of the best and brightest minds to help transform the company into a technology-first business to further accelerate its growth trajectory.

 Jeffrey Yam, Managing Director of Integrated Capital
Jeffrey Yam, Managing Director of Integrated Capital

“When IWM acquired Forbes in 2014, our vision was to keep the legendary brand as a strong force in the media world, fully accelerate Forbes to digital, and leverage the strength of the brand to create new revenue streams. We were able to achieve our goals,” said Jeffrey Yam, Managing Director of Integrated Capital. “Now, we are excited to pass the torch to someone who we believe can catapult Forbes’ legacy to even greater heights with his authentic vision to create a new era of capitalism, backed by one of the most recognizable business brands in the world. We believe there is significant opportunity for value growth with the new vision and, as a result, we will be retaining a minority stake. We look forward to the next chapter of the Forbes growth story.”

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.
Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.

“We welcome Austin Russell. He is a dynamic entrepreneur and thought leader who has built an industry-leading business from the ground up. His energy and vision will enable Forbes to continue and enhance the excellent work for which we are known,” said Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.

As part of the transaction, the remaining stake of Forbes owned by the Forbes family will be acquired by the new owner. However, Steve Forbes will remain involved in the company.

Mr. Russell founded his Florida and California-based company Luminar over 10 years ago, and has led the company to become the global leader in automotive lidar and software technology. Luminar is guided by a bold 100-year vision: to save as many as 100 million lives and 100 trillion hours on the road over the next 100 years through reducing vehicle accidents and enabling autonomous capabilities. Russell has no plans to sell or leverage any portion of his stake in Luminar.

Completion of the transaction is expected to take place later this year and is subject to customary closing conditions.


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