Austin Russell will reportedly acquire a majority stake in the business publication for some $800 million.
Austin Russell, a 28-year-old automotive tech billionaire, will buy a majority stake in Forbes Global Media Holdings from its current owner, Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM), the Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported on Friday.
Russell is the CEO of Luminar Technologies, a tech company that provides autonomous driving technology to the auto industry and has a $2.1 billion market capitalization.
According to the reports, which cited statements from both Russell and IWM, Russell has agreed to acquire an 82% stake in Forbes, including the remaining shares that belong to the Forbes family. IWM will keep a minority stake. Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of the business outlet, reportedly plans to stay on with the company. The deal is evaluated at roughly $800 million.
The reports say that Russell does not plan to take part in Forbes’ news coverage and daily operations but will instead focus on boosting its growth and pursuing his philanthropic interests within the business. He also reportedly intends to set up a new board for Forbes, which will include technology, media and artificial-intelligence experts.
“Forbes is something I had always looked up to as a brand and as a media empire,” Russell told the WSJ. He noted that the money for the acquisition did not come from his shares in Luminar, but he did not provide further details.
“It is only fitting that now through this transaction, a true innovator and visionary Austin Russell will be the new steward for the brand,” commented Forbes CEO Mike Federle in a statement to Reuters.
The more than 100-year-old Forbes is one of the oldest media outlets in the US. Russell was at one time recognized by Forbes in its popular ‘30 Under 30’ list that features successful businessmen under the age of 30.