The 100-year-old Forbes brand is now majority owned by a 28-year-old automotive technology CEO.
Austin Russell, the founder of Luminar Technologies, told the Wall Street Journal 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 family, and values the media outlet at nearly $800 million.
Luminar Technologies makes sensors and software used for safety and autonomous driving features. The Forbes acquisition has parallels to the fictional TV show Succession, wherein a young tech mogul is negotiating to take over an older media brand, Waystar Royco.
The portion of Forbes not controlled by Russell will be stakes held by Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments. Russell said he won’t be involved in Forbes news coverage or its day-to-day operations Instead, he plans to focus on continuing its growth and emphasizing philanthropy within 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 deal to go public fell through.