The 100-year-old Forbes brand is now majority-owned by a 28-year-old automotive technology CEO.
Austin Russell, founder of Luminar Technologies, told the Wall Street Journal that he is buying a majority stake in Forbes Global Media Holdings. The deal gives Russell an 82% stake in Forbes, which includes the remaining portion of the company owned by its namesake, and values the media outlet at nearly $800 million.
Luminar Technologies makes sensors and software used for safety and autonomous driving functions. The Forbes acquisition has parallels to the fictional TV show Successionin which a young tech mogul negotiates to take over an older media brand, Waystar Royco.
The portion of Forbes not controlled by Russell will be holdings of Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments. Russell said he will not be involved in Forbes’ news coverage or its day-to-day operations. Instead, he plans to focus on continuing growth and emphasizing philanthropy in the business.
“Forbes is something I had always looked up to as a brand and as a media empire,” said Russell, who was once recognized by Forbes in its “30 Under 30” feature for being a young self-made billionaire.
The Forbes media empire has not been controlled by the Forbes family since 2014, when it sold a majority stake to Integrated Whale Media after a public deal fell through.