Investopedia / Yurle Villegas

What Is Forbes?

The term Forbes refers to a media and publishing company that was founded in the United States in 1917. The company provides daily news coverage on business, technology, financial markets, personal finance, sports, and a wide array of other topics. It also publishes a magazine by the same name, which is put out eight times a year, reaching 5.8 million readers as of the spring of 2020.

Forbes is, perhaps, best known for its lists, which rank billionaires, top 30 individuals under 30, colleges, entertainers, and self-made women, to name a few. The organization is headed by former Republican candidate Steve Forbes

Key Takeaways

  • Forbes is a media and publishing company.
  • The company was founded in 1917 by Bertie Charles Forbes and was taken over by Steve Forbes in 1990.
  • Forbes Media is known for its magazine and lists that rank everything from billionaires to colleges.
  • In 2014, the company sold a majority stake to Hong Kong-based investment company Integrated Whale Media Investments.

Understanding Forbes

Forbes is no longer a family-run publication but was for most of its history. It was founded in 1917 by Bertie Charles Forbes. He was a Scottish immigrant who moved to New York near the turn of the 20th century. After serving as a syndicated columnist, he founded Forbes magazine in 1917 and served as editor-in-chief until his death in 1954. His son Malcolm Forbes took over the publishing company. Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Jr., better known as Steve Forbes, took over as chair and editor-in-chief when his father died in 1990.

The media company is among the world's top providers of business, investing, finance, marketing, lifestyle, and sports news content. It employs more than 400 people around the world and has over 2,800 working journalists under its banner. As mentioned above, its magazine is published eight times every year and reaches 5.8 million readers with 40 editions in 70 different countries.

Forbes is well-known for its lists, which it uses to rank people and companies in a variety of categories. Some of its most popular lists include:

  • The Billionaires List
  • The World's Most Powerful People
  • 30 Under 30
  • The World's Highest-Paid Athletes
  • The Celebrity 100: The World's Highest-Paid Entertainers
  • The Global 2000: The World's Largest Public Companies
  • America's Top Colleges

Just like other media companies, Forbes has a major digital footprint in addition to its print property. Its digital platform,, is updated daily, providing readers with news and features, as well as long-form and investigative stories, videos, and its famous lists. The company boasts 66 million digital visitors every month in the United States and 108 million visitors who log on to the site around the world.

Special Considerations

The majority of the company is owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments. Forbes Media sold a majority interest to the Hong Kong-based company in 2014, according to a post on the company's website by Steve Forbes. The terms of the deal, including the amount of the sale and the size of the stake, were not disclosed. The Forbes family, though, remains a stakeholder in the company.

Article Sources
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  2. Forbes "Forbes Lists." Accessed Feb. 2, 2021.

  3. Britannica. "Forbes." Accessed Feb. 2, 2021.

  4. Forbes Magazine. "About Forbes." Accessed Feb. 2, 2021.

  5. Forbes. "" Accessed Feb. 2, 2021.

  6. BBC News. "Forbes Media sold to Hong Kong's Integrated Whale." Accessed Feb. 2, 2021.

  7. Forbes ."The Next Frontier For Forbes." Accessed Feb. 2, 2021.

  8. CNBC. "Forbes Media sells majority stake to Hong Kong investors." Accessed Feb. 2, 2021.

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