Exclusive: China's HNA in talks to buy controlling stake in Forbes - sources

Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:28pm EDT
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By Julie Zhu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the owner of the publisher of Forbes magazine, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM), which holds 95 percent of Forbes Media, is also in talks with another Chinese media firm and is scouting for more potential buyers for most or all of its stake, said one of the sources, who declined to be identified as the talks are confidential.

Reuters was not able to confirm the names of the other possible bidders.

HNA, ranked 353rd in the 2016 Fortune Global list of the world's biggest 500 companies, has been in discussions for a couple of weeks with IWM for a deal worth at least $400 million, said the source.

IWM and Forbes Media declined to comment, while HNA didn't respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The move comes three years after the Forbes family, which founded the American financial magazine 100 years ago, gave up its controlling stake in Forbes Media to IWM.

That transaction valued the Forbes company at $475 million, a source familiar with the transaction has said. [reut.rs/2mTiy5j]

HNA, which has more than $100 billion in assets, has been on an acquisition spree expanding out of its traditional business of aviation and logistics into financial, media and cultural sectors.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: A customer (L) stands in front of a counter of Hainan Airlines at an airport in Haikou, Hainan province, China, July 29, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo