The man who became the youngest self-billionaire in 2021 now owns Forbes

Austin Russell Acquires Forbes
Image Credit: Forbes Argentina

There have been some big changes in Forbes Global Media Holdings recently. Austin Russell, the founder of Luminar Technologies, bought the majority of stakes in Forbes. The deal, which was finalized on Friday, values at a whopping $800 million.

Austin Russell Takes Majority Stake in Forbes, Valuing the Company at $800 Million

The 28-year-old founder acquired 82% of Forbes Global Media Holdings. This means he now has a major role in the company. It’s another accomplishment for Rusell after he became the world’s youngest billionaire in 2021.

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Austin Russell started Luminar as the sole founder in 2012. He actually dropped out of Standford that same year to start the company. He got a $100,000 grant from a famous investor named Peter Thiel, which helped him get started. Later on, he received a $100,000 grant from the Thiel Fellowship program. The financial support helped him continue to focus on his company.

Luminar develops vision-based lidar and machine perception technologies primarily for self-driving cars. The company gained real popularity in 2017 after operating in the industry for a while. In 2021, it went public through a SPAC merger, which valued the company at $3.4 billion in the market.

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Forbes family ownership to a definitive close

Shortly after Luminar went public, Forbes was also planning to do the same through a SPAC merger. But the company changed its plans. Because the SPAC market was facing increased scrutiny from financial regulators. But Austin Russell saw this as an opportunity and preyed on it.

As a result, he will now own 82% of the company. This also includes the shares previously held by the Forbes family. To note, the Forbes family decided to sell the majority of their shares (95%) to a company based in Hong Kong. And with the acquisition by Rusell, the family’s ownership comes to a definite close. The Hong Kong-based company will still hold a decent number of shares.

Now some people might be surprised to see Austin Rusell entering the media industry. After all, he is known for his technological skills. But that might be his admiration for Forbes that has driven him to make this acquisition. He says, “I’m honored to be selected by the owners as the new steward of the brand.”

But he has made it clear that he would not be involved in the day-to-day operations of Forbes. Instead, he will be focusing on including philanthropy in the company’s business model. He will also oversee the growth and expansion of the company. So we will have to wait and see how he leverages his ideas, vision, and resources to shape the future of Forbes. Mike Federle, CEO of Forbes, acknowledged the importance of this ownership change. And how can it make an impact on Forbes’ rich history in the media landscape.

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