Aaron Elstein of Crain’s New York Business writes about Forbes’ plan to go public.
Elstein writes, “The big idea behind Forbes’ proposed turn as a public company is transforming it into a licensing company.
“It’s not a new idea. Forbes succeeded back in the day because ownership picked sharp editors, like Michaels, while marketing itself as a ‘capitalist tool’ for anyone who was—or aspired to be—rich. Before publisher Malcolm Forbes died in 1990, he loved to show off his collection of Fabergé eggs, be seen partying at his French château and photographed riding his yacht.
“Today, the new regime sees opportunity marketing the Forbes name in the business-education and travel arenas. Known for its lists, Forbes aims to compete against Bankrate and NerdWallet ranking personal financial services. It even plans to go up against the Robinhoods of the world with an investment app that Federle said is about ’empowering everyday investors with sophisticated hedge fund and investing strategies.’
“Let’s wish Forbes well as it tries to become an indispensable tool to a new generation of capitalists. But it’s going up against some enormous competitors. Robinhood has a valuation of $38 billion, or 60 times larger than the one sought by Forbes. And while Forbes has excellent reporters in its in-house editorial staff of 176, the Rupert Murdoch–owned WSJ has nearly 1,300 journalists.
Read more here.