New Fortune owner attracted to its overseas operation
Joe Pompeo of Vanity Fair writes that the new owner of Fortune magazine, Chatchaval Jiaravanon, was attracted to purchasing the publication because of its Asian operation.
Pompeo writes, “But Jiaravanon swooped in with strong unsolicited interest at the eleventh hour. He was introduced to Murray last month by a mutual acquaintance, and before long, intermediaries had flown out to New York to start negotiating. Jiaravanon is expected to come to New York in December to meet with Fortune’s staff at its current offices inside Meredith’s headquarters at 225 Liberty Street. (Fortune and Time are both on the hunt for new digs.) A more thorough staff meeting addressing the sale is being planned for next week. As I reported in August, Fortune editors have for some time been envisioning a makeover that would reboot Fortune’s print component as more of a luxury product, with a premium price point and perhaps fewer issues. The hope now is that Jiaravanon’s deep pockets will finally make that possible.
“On Friday’s call, Murray and Leaf talked up the extent to which Fortune’s rich history and global cachet had dazzled their new owner. But one presumes Jiaravanon was just as enthused about Fortune’s presence in Asia, where the publication has an English-language edition, a Chinese edition, and several news-making conferences. Having suffered the same advertising and newsstand declines as the rest of the industry, Fortune has had to diversify its revenue in recent years, and from a business standpoint, its events division is seen as a major bright spot. People familiar with Fortune’s finances have told me that the most successful conferences of the bunch are the ones in China, where the Jiaravanon family, who are ethnic Chinese, have extensive interests. On the phone from Hong Kong, where Murray and Jiaravanon had dined to celebrate the deal, Murray told me Fortune would earn $10 million this year on $100 million in revenue, and that more than half of those earnings would come from conferences and digital initiatives.”
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