Austin Russell, the 28-year-old billionaire and CEO of Luminar Technologies, has taken ownership of Forbes Global Media Holdings by acquiring an impressive 82% stake. This strategic move positions him as the new owner of Forbes magazine, a renowned publication in the media industry. The deal, valued at approximately $800 million, solidifies Russell’s influence and presence in the media landscape.
Austin Russell Secures 82% Stake in Forbes
According to a Bloomberg report, Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments will retain a minority stake in Forbes, while the Forbes family will no longer have ownership. However, Steve Forbes will continue to be involved with the company.
In 2014, the Forbes family had already sold 95% of the company to Integrated Whale Media Investments, a Hong Kong-based investor group. Austin Russell, the new owner, intends to serve as a visionary for the Forbes brand and will not be involved in day-to-day operations, as stated.
“This is an important milestone in Forbes’ history and an achievement that everyone on the Forbes team should be proud of,” said Forbes CEO From Mike Federle.
“Over 105 years, innovation has been part of Forbes’ DNA and has kept us at the forefront of our industry. It is only fitting that now through this transaction, a true innovator and visionary, Austin Russell, will be the new steward for the brand.”
A new board comprising experts in American media, technology, and artificial intelligence is set to be appointed by Forbes. While Integrated Whale will retain one seat on the board.
Despite his acquisition of Forbes, Austin Russell will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the renowned publication. Instead, Forbes intends to form a fresh board of directors consisting of industry experts in American media, technology, and artificial intelligence (AI). The magazine, which was founded in 1917 by BC Forbes, aims to leverage the expertise of this new board to propel its future growth and success.
The Formative Years of Billionaire Austin Russell
Austin Russell, a college dropout, founded and leads Luminar Technologies, an automotive sensor company that merged with a SPAC and went public in December 2020. While studying physics at Stanford University at the age of 17, Russell, an optics prodigy, came up with the concept for Luminar.
In 2012, Austin made the decision to drop out of college after being awarded a prestigious $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, an initiative supported by billionaire Peter Thiel to support young entrepreneurs. With his company Luminar, Austin is in direct competition with other laser lidar manufacturers like Velodyne and Aeva. These companies specialize in developing advanced sensors that enable self-driving vehicles to perceive and understand their surroundings.
Over two years ago, Austin Russell achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. At the age of 25, his company went public through an IPO in December 2020, propelling him to immense wealth and recognition.
About Luminar Technologies
The market value of Luminar Technologies is now close to $2.1 billion. For its more than 50 industry collaborators, which include the majority of international car OEMs, Luminar has spent the last ten years developing a sophisticated hardware and software platform.
Luminar is positioned to be the very first automotive technology business to offer next-generation security and autonomous features for production cars, working with partners like Volvo Cars & Mercedes-Benz for consumer vehicles, Daimler Trucks for commercial trucks, and tech collaborators NVIDIA and Intel’s Mobileye.
Also Read: Meet Linda Yaccarino: The New Twitter CEO
Luminar Technologies reported exceeding its revenue guidance in Q1 2023, and expects at least 100% revenue growth in 2023. With a strong balance sheet, the company is focused on accelerating business growth and reaching positive cash flow. According to reports, Luminar generated $14.5 million in revenue in Q1 2023, a YoY increase of 112%.