Forbes Is Going Public via SPAC Magnum Opus

Deal is expected to raise $600 million in gross proceeds

Forbes is the latest company who will go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Magnum Opus Acquisition Limited (NYSE: OPA). Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will retain the Forbes name and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FRBS.

The combined company is expected to have an implied pro forma enterprise value of $630 million, net of tax benefits, according to an August 26, 2021 news release. The companies are expecting to raise approximately $600 million in gross proceeds. Forbes shareholders will own approximately 22% of the combined closing, and Magnum Opus’ shareholders will own the balance.

Going public will give Forbes additional resources to continue its digital transformation, pursue additional growth opportunities, leverage technology and data to better engage with audiences, and develop high-quality recurring revenue with higher customer lifetime values. The transaction is expected to close late in the fourth quarter of this year or early in the first quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and the approval of Magnum Opus’ shareholders.

The boards of both Forbes and Magnum Opus have approved the merger. Forbes’ current management team will continue to lead the company with chief executive officer Mike Federle at the helm. The company will add new, independent members to its board with diversity and inclusion as core values.

“Leveraging our iconic global brand, Forbes has been executing a data-led platform strategy and is fast becoming the gateway for businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers to join the conversations and participate in the trends that are shaping the world today,” said Federle. “With this transition into a publicly traded company, Forbes will have the capital to accelerate growth by executing its differentiated content and platform strategy and fully realize the potential of our iconic brand.”

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Jonathan Lin, chairman and CEO of Magnum Opus, also commented on the momentous transaction.

“The Forbes platform is defined by high-quality, high-impact journalism, product offerings and a loyal user base,” said Lin. “We are pleased to partner with the experienced management team to support initiatives to accelerate growth in high-quality and recurring revenue verticals. Forbes has expansive reach and is successfully broadening and deepening engagement through data-informed content curation that delivers what each Forbes user cares most about. The strategy fits perfectly with Magnum Opus’ strategy to support enterprises leveraging digitalization to craft more tailored user experiences, and big data analytics to create a positive feedback loop and multiple touchpoints with consumers.”

TC Yam, executive chairman of Integrated Whale Media, who purchased a majority stake in Forbes in 2014, said the following:

“It has been exciting to watch the Forbes management team successfully complete a digital transformation since we have been involved, and then deliver record annual returns. This is a testament to the outstanding, seasoned executive team, the consistently trusted quality of Forbes journalism and the dedication of the entire Forbes team. Now, it is time for the next exciting chapter in the Forbes narrative, one in which we are happy to remain involved as a significant investor and partner with the world class institutional and strategic investors at Magnum Opus.”

Forbes reaches more than 150 million people globally through its journalism, signature LIVE and Forbes Virtual events, and custom marketing programs. The Forbes brand publishes 45 licensed local editions that cover 76 countries.

Insider Take

SPACs are becoming more popular as a way for private companies to go public. This particular opportunity offers a lot of benefits for Forbes, allowing the iconic news brand to expand its reach and to grow its digital footprint. Forbes has successfully pivoted in an online world, and this transaction gives them many new opportunities they might not otherwise have. Who will be next?