Forbes Sells Investopedia for $42 Million, Ignores PE

Forbes Inc. has agreed to sell Investopedia to ValueClick for roughly $42 million in cash. ValueClick will retain Investopedia’s management team and employee base. The business will run as a wholly-owned unit, according to a statement.

Founded in 1999, Investopedia is an investing education and financial information web site. The Edmonton, Canada-based company provides a library of financial terms, articles, tutorials and investing education tool. It attracts 2.2 million unique U.S. visitors per month, according to comScore.

Forbes, which bought Investopedia in 2007 from its founders, put the company up for sale in June. The auction attracted multiple strategic bidders, says Tolman Geffs, co-president of Jordan Edmiston Group, which ran the process for Forbes.

Jordan Edmiston did not seek out PE buyers, although it received many calls, Geffs says. “We felt the value would be maximized by a strategic buyer who has a publishing platform and a larger sales footprint and complimentary sales capabilities,” Geff says.

By July, Forbes had begun exclusive negotiations with ValueClick. Investopedia, unlike some other media properties that are up for sale, touts 50% EBITDA margins and is “highly profitable,” Geff says. The online education site is expected to generate about $10 million in revenue and $5 million adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months ended Dec. 21. The ValueClick transaction values Investopedia at 4 times revenue, Geff says.

Investopedia’s sale comes as other media auctions are seeing some closure. The Washington Post on Monday agreed to sell Newsweek to Sidney Harman. Modern Luxury Media, a magazine publisher, is reportedly in talks to sell to the Dickey family. Both properties have been beset by financial issues. Harman is reportedly paying $1 for Newsweek and will assume the magazine’s considerable financial liabilities. The Dickey family is supposedly paying north of $20 million for Modern Luxury.

“Investopedia has EBITDA and did not sell for a dollar,” Geff quipped. “It’s a simple business that is of highly quality. It’s very clean and easy to explain.”