So private equity investors have just snatched another piece of the old media. Elevation, a PE firm that boasts Bono on board, has acquired a purported 40% stake in the octogenarian Forbes, the business magazine owned by the Forbes family.
The move highlights the bet by old media on outside capital and know-how that they hope will help the transition into the digital age. Seeking “operational flexibility rather than familial liquidity”, the Forbes family realized that Forbes’ business model had been “blasted by the Web”.
Elevation’s man in the Forbes deal is Roger McNamee, an old hand in media investment and formerly of Silver Lake Partners. It’s buying into a Web site, forbes.com, attached to a strong brand, which had 10 million unique visitors worldwide in June, according to comScore Media Metrix, reported by the NYT.
The karma is conspicuous when Steve Forbes let on that U2’s “One” is his favorite song. The portentous lyrics captures it best: “Is it getting better, or do you feel the same? Will it make it easier on you, now you got someone to blame?”