UPDATED 21:34 EDT / FEBRUARY 10 2022


Binance invests $200M into Forbes ahead of SPAC merger

In one of the more weird investments in recent times, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, today announced that it’s investing $200 million into legacy media company Forbes Media LLC, the publisher of Forbes magazine.

The $200 million strategic investment will go to both Forbes and Magnus Opus Acquisition Ltd., the special-purpose acquisition company Forbes is scheduled to merge with later this quarter. Binance’s $200 million will account for half of the $400 million in private investment in public equity as part of the SPAC deal.

The transaction is pitched as helping Forbes maximize its brand and enterprise value and use its proprietary technology stack and analytics. In doing so, Forbes says, it will convert readers into long-term, engaged customers of the platform, including through memberships and recurring subscriptions to premium content and highly targeted product offerings.

That’s all well and good, but what possible interest could Binance have in a 104-year-old media company? The interest appears to be a combination of education and supporting Forbes in its digital endeavors.

“With Binance’s investment in Forbes, we now have the experience, network and resources of the world’s leading crypto exchange and one of the world’s most successful blockchain innovators,” Mike Federle, chief executive officer of Forbes, said in a statement. “Forbes, already a resource for people interested in the emerging world of digital assets, can become a true leader in the field with their help.”

Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, said that “as Web3 and blockchain technologies move forward and the crypto market comes of age we know that media is an essential element to build widespread consumer understanding and education.” Zhao added that “we look forward to bolstering Forbes’ digital initiatives, as they evolve into a next-level investment insights platform.”

Having Forbes as a partially owned outlet to promote Binance and the broader blockchain and cryptocurrency space makes some sense. The idea that Forbes could be an investment insights platform for crypto is also interesting. The Forbes name could be leveraged to provide a Dow Jones & Co. Inc.-like service for cryptocurrency.

Others are somewhat skeptical, however. Martin Peers at The Information said that the deal is about saving Forbes’ SPAC deal from BuzzFeed Inc.-like embarrassment. Buzzfeed went public via SPAC in December and its shares have dropped ever since.

Image: 149561324@N03/Flickr

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