One can gain insight into the character of the new owner of Forbes Media just by reading the name of his company: Integrated Whale Media Investments.
The consortium, formed by Hong Kong businessman Yam Tak-cheung and Wayne Hsieh, co-founder of ASUSTeK, must have picked the whale as a symbol of its corporate mettle.
Aside from its bulk, the marine mammal is known for its warm-blooded nature. Beneath its skin lies blubber, a thick layer of fat which stores energy and insulates the body.
It is also known to be a great teacher and learner. Like a human, it knows how to cooperate, scheme and even grieve.
As such, it is also a good friend the Forbes family and its private equity partner Elevation Partners can lean on for a US$475 million business that is renowned for its rankings of the world’s richest individuals and top corporations.
So who is the man behind the whale that takes over the nearly-century-old business journalism icon? Yam Tak-cheung may not be a name that resonates among the city’s hoi polloi, but he has made several appearances in the corporate scene.
Last month, the 52-year-old business tycoon quit as chairman of Fornton Group, a company he founded in 2011 which transformed from a knitwear manufacturer into a financial leasing company for the coal mining industry. Yam’s investment flagship Integrated Asset Management (IAM) owns about 19 percent of Fornton, whose market capitalization is around HK$1 billion.
Yam is listed as a professional investor. He owns substantial stakes in a group of corporate third-liners including Amco United, China Motion Telecom, China Packaging, China Vanguard, Credit China, NewOcean Energy, North Asia Resources and Sustainable Forest. These companies have a market capitalization ranging from HK$200 million to HK$5 billion.
The Forbes press release said IAM is primarily engaged in public and private equity investments, with expertise in telecommunications, finance and technology enterprises.
A graduate of the University of Toronto majoring in Computer Science and Actuarial Science in 1983, Yam spent time in local charity work such as Po Leung Kuk and Yan Oi Tong. He is married to Kandy Wong Kan-kan, who quit as managing director of Fontron alongside her husband in June.
Commenting on his Forbes investment, Yam said: “We are investing in the Forbes brand, history, family involvement and a management team that is successfully transforming the company. Forbes Media is built around a brand that is synonymous with success and a mission that has tremendous respect and global appeal in established and growing markets around the world.
“Given the tremendous growth of digital in the past decade, Forbes Media’s plans will include additional internet and social media expansion projects. Together with the Forbes family and the management team, along with the appropriate strategic and financial support, we will find new ways to unlock the value of the Forbes brand.”
Now, do we hear the listing bell ringing for Forbes Media in Hong Kong?
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