This is an odd one.
According to a report in The Financial Times, the Forbes family has sued Integrated Whale Media Investment, the Hong Kong-based investment group which bought a majority stake in Forbes Media last July.
The complaint, which was earlier reported by Law 360, claims Integrated Whale has failed to repay money it borrowed from the Forbes family to finance the transaction.
According to the FT, the complaint said: “Integrated Whale and its principals have actively resisted the Forbes Plaintiffs’ efforts to collect on the unpaid debt by any means necessary, no matter how improper, including by submitting false testimony to the court in the British Virgin Islands.”
So that doesn’t seem good.
Additionally, the Forbes complaint also says that Integrated Whale, “improperly leveraged its control of Forbes’ board of directors and its position as controlling shareholder to engage in a retaliation campaign to dissuade Forbes from enforcing its basic contractual rights,” according to Law360.
According to both Law360 and The FT, Integrated Whale’s investment in Forbes valued the company at $US475 million.
A spokeswoman for Forbes emphasised that this a dispute between shareholders at the holding company level, that Forbes Media is not involved, and that this action, “does not and will not have any impact on the media company’s day-to-day operations or future growth.”
A spokeswoman for Integrated Whale said in a statement: “The management of Integrated Whale Media Investment Inc. (IWM) rejects the allegations contained in the complaint as completely without merit. IWM is currently reviewing all legal options regarding the complaint and reserves its rights.’
The statement added, “Forbes Media is managed by a team of media professionals, and IWM has built a good and trusted working relationship with this management team.”
The deal for Integrated Whale to take a majority stake in Forbes was announced in July 2014, with that announcement calling Integrated Whale a, “newly formed Hong Kong-based investor group.”
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