Forbes has ditched plans to list through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company as investor appetite dwindles.
The media firm had initially announced plans to merge through a Spac based in Hong Kong last summer, which valued Forbes at $630m.
While sources told the Financial Times yesterday that the media giant had abandoned plans because of cooling investor interest, Forbes CEO Mike Federle confirmed the news this afternoon. He said: “The Forbes brand is a sought-after and trusted brand with more than 100 years of equity that is synonymous with success and validation”.
“Our digital transformation has delivered double-digit revenue and EBITDA growth over the past year, which not only significantly outperformed the financial targets provided at the start of the SPAC transaction last year but continues to deliver high quality cashflows and compelling year-over-year and sequential growth since then.
Forbes initially announced it IPO after its German rival group Axel Springer snapped up Politico, alongside private equity giant KKR.
Online media giant BuzzFeed went public via SPAC in late 2021 and has had a bumpy ride on Wall Street ever since: the stock has dropped over 63 per cent since it first floated.
As reported by City A.M. last month, the global boom in so-called blank-cheque firms has faltered in the first quarter of 2022 as investors grow sceptical of the vehicles and regulators prepare to clampdown on fanciful financial forecasting.
Special purpose acquisition companies (spacs) scooped up record amounts of acquisitions in every quarter last year before peaking at 104 in the final three months, according to data from CBInsights, with big name firms like WeWork and SoFi swerving IPOs to opt for spac mergers.
The cash shell companies offer firms an alternative route to market via a merger, bypassing the traditional IPO process and slashing associated fees and timelines.
But the blizzard of deals has tapered off this year with just 66 fresh mergers completed in the first quarter. New issuances have similarly been tamed by market turbulence as just 78 new spacs floated on public markets, closing on $15bn in proceeds, the lowest quarter since the second quarter of 2020 at the cusp of the spac renaissance, according to data from investment analysis firm Pitchbook.
“This is a testament to the incredible team we have assembled at Forbes that is delivering across our Media, and Brand Extensions business, as well as our newer consumer conversion strategy that has shown triple digit revenue growth over the past two years.”