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With Publishers Information Bureau figures showing a 7.5 percent decline in print ad revenues over the first three quarters of 2013 compared to year-ago numbers, Forbes has lined up the Deutsche Bank to explore a sale. The esteemed business journal was established in 1917 by B.C. Forbes and remained the sole property of the Forbes family until Elevation Partners, a private equity firm, became a minority partner in 2006.
Since then, Forbes defaulted on a $90 million credit line, necessitating the sale of private family assets, including an island in Fiji, which led to the 2010 ouster of Steve Forbes as CEO and hiring of Mike Perlis, according to the Ad Week article. Perlis cited comscore worldwide figures that shows Forbes.com unique visitors skyrocketing to 26 million from 12 million over the past three years as an indication that the media company would be attractive to suitors.
The Ad Week article speculated that a private equity firm would be most likely to take the plunge in acquiring Forbes Media LLC. The company has shifted its emphasis to its conference business and online edition, noting that its digital magazine provides more than half of its ad revenue.