OLD Media Moves

How Forbes lost its edge in tracking billionaires

March 5, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Lisa Du of Business Insider writes Monday about how Forbes, which has historically been the only business news outlet tracking billionaires, lost its edge to Bloomberg News, which launched its billionaires list overseen by former Forbes staffer Matt Miller.

Du writes, “While Miller was working at Forbes, he and Mykolas Rambus — the former head of IT at the company — pitched to Forbes management a way to monetize Forbes Research, the person familiar said.  One idea was to create a Forbes-branded consultancy for high net-worth wealth managers, which would leverage the information gathered to create the wealth lists.  But Forbes management were reluctant about the idea because they were unwilling to invest in major new projects while the company was struggling financially.

“Miller supposedly proposed to raise capital from outside investors to fund his project idea, that way the company would have to take little financial risk.  At the time, it was rumored that Miller got investors to commit around $1 million, the person familiar told Business Insider. But Forbes management ultimately rejected Miller’s idea.

“Shortly after that, Miller left Forbes with Rambus and started Wealth-X, an intelligence service for wealthy individuals—essentially the same idea that Miller was rumored to have pitched to Forbes.

“About a year into his Wealth-X venture, Miller was hired by Bloomberg in January 2011 to be an editor-at-large. Rambus remains the CEO of Wealth X.

“Now that Miller’s work for Bloomberg — a new and improved rich list as part of the company’s expanding wealth coverage — has been unveiled, it can’t be hard to imagine how Forbes may be feeling.

Read more here.

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