China's HNA Group in talks to buy controlling stake Forbes magazine owner

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the owner of Forbes magazine, Reuters yesterday reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM), which holds 95 per cent of Forbes Media, is also in talks with another Chinese media firm and is scouting for more potential buyers for most or all of its stake, the report said.

The Forbes family, which founded the US financial magazine, had sold its controlling stake in Forbes Media in 2014 to IWM, in a deal that valued the 100 year-old Forbes Media at a reported $475 million.

Forbes Media publishes Forbes, Forbes Asia, and Forbes Europe magazines, as well as Forbes.com. Brand extensions include ForbesLive conferences, real estate, education, financial services, technology license agreements and others.

A Fortune 500 Company, HNA has grown from a local aviation transportation operator into a multinational conglomerate encompassing aviation, airport management, financial services, real estate, retail, tourism, and logistics.

The group has assets worth over $90 billion, has 11 listed companies, annual revenues of $29 billion and employs nearly 180,000 worldwide.

It has a fleet of over 820 aircrafts, serves nearly 700 domestic and international routes, flies to over 200 cities, and serves 77.4 million passengers annually.

HNA operates and manages Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Deer Jet, Lucky Air, Capital Airlines, West Air, Fuzhou Airlines, Urumqi Air, Beibu Gulf Airlines, Yangtze River Airlines, Guilin Airlines, My CARGO, Africa World Airlines, and Aigle Azur.

It has recently been on an acquisition spree and offered to buy Swiss catering and hospitality company Gategroup in April for $1.5 billion, struck a deal in February to buy US electronics distributor Ingram Micro Inc for about $6 billion and paid $2.73 billion to buy airport luggage handler Swissport International Ltd.

It is also the biggest shareholder in Spanish hotel company NH Hotel Group SA and last year, acquired 25 per cent in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc from private equity firm Blackstone Group for $6.5 billion.