Luminar CEO Austin Russell acquires majority stake in Forbes magazine

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Austin Russell, a 28-year-old automotive technology billionaire, acquired an 82 percent stake in Forbes Global Media Holdings, parent of the well-known Forbes business magazine.

The deal values the company at close to $800 million, the parties said in a statement Friday. The seller, Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments will retain a minority stake. The Forbes family will not, though Steve Forbes will remain involved.

Russell is the CEO of Luminar Technologies Inc., which provides autonomous driving technology to the automotive industry. The company, which has a $2.1 billion market capitalization, posted sales of $40.7 million last year and isn’t profitable. Shares in Luminar fell 2.8 percent to $5.53 on Friday.

Russell plans to serve as a visionary for the Forbes brand and won’t be involved in day-to-day operations, according to the statement.

Forbes plans to appoint a new board consisting of American media, technology and artificial intelligence experts. Integrated Whale will keep one board seat.

Russell’s net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion, according to Forbes.

The magazine was founded in 1917 by B.C. Forbes, a Scottish immigrant and business columnist for the Hearst newspaper chain.

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