The parties’ filing and press release did not give a cause for the decision, but the deal had been pending for more than nine months since its announcement on August 26. The parties announced a further wrinkle in February as Chinese crypto exchange Binance took over the deal’s $400 million in PIPE commitments.
Binance has been gradually transferring its activities from mainland China to elsewhere due to the country’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies, but this exposure to both China and crypto may have made for a more lengthy SEC review.
The Forbes deal was also announced following Buzzfeed’s announced combination with 890 5th Avenue. Buzzfeed has since faced turbulent times since closing its deal in December that included layoffs and newsroom labor disputes. Last month, it announced both growing revenues and widening losses of -$16.8 million EBITDA for the first quarter of 2022.
Forbes, for its part, announced in its press release that it had achieved double-digit revenue and EBITDA growth over the previous year, outpacing the projections in its initial investor materials. Whether this is a early sign that it continues to look for alternative financial partners remains to be seen.
Magnum Opus still has until March 25, 2023 to complete a business transaction, which would normally be plenty of time. But, this is only 18 days longer than the Forbes transaction was pending post-announcement. SEC reviews continue to be the wildcard.