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GOP Senators Urge Halt to CCP, Russian-Tied Forbes Buyout

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Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Marco Rubio of Florida are teaming up to push the Biden administration to review the planned acquisition of Forbes magazine.

The pair sent a letter Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warning her that the planned buyout involves entities tied to Russia and the Chinese Communist Party, which previously tried to purchase the outlet.

“Forbes reportedly holds a significant market share among younger Americans, with tens of millions of monthly users,” the lawmakers wrote. “This puts Forbes in a unique position to collect and store sensitive personal data on these populations and influence their opinions.”

“Further, foreign powers could use Forbes’ wide reach to influence voters during close elections,” the letter continued, pointing out the magazine’s recent reporting on the Uyghur genocide by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang.

In May, Axios noted that the top investor for the proposed Forbes buyout is 28-year-old Austin Russell, an American currently running an electric vehicle company, who is pledging $10 million for the magazine.

Russell is also trying to partner with foreign investors to acquire 82% of Forbes for $656 million, which is where concerns from regulators and members of Congress have arisen.

Chinese investors tried a similar takeover of the outlet in 2021, first through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company that would make it go public, and then via a majority stake by cryptocurrency giant Binance.

However, the company announced in 2022 that it would shutter the proposed merger, citing unfavorable market conditions, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

“It is evident that the dangers of the proposed Forbes acquisition greatly exceed the acceptable level of risk established by Congress … and by President [Joe] Biden,” Cotton and Rubio’s letter emphasized.

“As such, we urge you to conduct a review of the proposed Forbes acquisition, without delay,” it concluded.

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