Acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the owner of the Forbes magazine, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM), which holds 95% of Forbes Media, is also in talks with another Chinese media firm and is scouting for more potential buyers for most or all of its stake, said one of the sources.
HNA, ranked 353rd in the 2016 Fortune Global list of the world's biggest 500 companies, has been in discussions for a couple of weeks with IWM for a deal worth at least USD 400 million.
The move comes three years after the Forbes family, which founded the American financial magazine 100 years ago, gave up its controlling stake in Forbes Media to IWM. That transaction valued the Forbes company at USD 475 million.
HNA, which has more than USD 100 billion in assets, has been on an acquisition spree expanding out of its traditional business of aviation and logistics into financial, media and cultural sectors.
Late last year, HNA Capital, the group's financial arm, bought an 80% stake in Beijing Lianban Caixun Cultural Media, a media firm that runs the website of influential financial publication Caijing magazine, for an undisclosed sum, records with China's state-run corporate register showed.
"Going forward, HNA will continue to scout for good-quality domestic and international media assets," the second source said. "HNA wants to display publications owned or invested by it on its planes, in its hotels across the world."
The media deals are taking place at a time when Beijing is flexing its "soft power" muscles to extend its global influence.
Last year, China Central Television, the country's largest TV network, said it would launch a new global media platform to help re-brand China overseas.
Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding snapped up Hong Kong's flagship English-language newspaper the South China Morning Post and other media assets of SCMP Group Ltd for USD 266 million in late 2015.
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