Luminar CEO’s deal to buy Forbes called off -memo By Reuters

© Reuters. The logo of Forbes magazine is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. Picture taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

By Dawn Chmielewski and Helen Coster

(Reuters) -Forbes’ parent company has called off its acquisition by Luminar Technologies CEO Austin Russell, as the billionaire could not come up with the financing, an internal Forbes memo seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.

Earlier this year, the automotive technology executive had agreed to acquire 82% of Forbes in a deal valuing the business news publisher at nearly $800 million, including the remaining portion of the company owned by the Forbes family.

Forbes Media CEO Mike Federle told staff the cancellation will not affect day-to-day operations and that the company will continue to “consider other opportunities,” said the memo, which was first reported by The Information.

Forbes did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, a representative from Russell’s family office said “it was determined that it was in the best interest of the parties that the contract be terminated. We wish nothing but the best to the Forbes team.”

Forbes was valued at $475 million in 2014 when Integrated Whale Media bought a majority stake in the company from the Forbes family and investment group Elevation Partners. Chinese conglomerate HNA Group made an unsuccessful bid to acquire a majority stake in Forbes in 2017, Reuters reported at the time.

Forbes, one of the oldest U.S. media outlets, publishes its eponymous flagship magazine, which reaches 5 million readers. Founded by B.C. Forbes in 1917, it has long championed capitalism and entrepreneurship and is known for its annual list of the world’s wealthiest people, as well as its 30 Under 30 franchise.

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