Elevation Returns To Deals, Buys Blog Site

Forbes Media, a business publisher that is in the portfolio of Elevation Partners, is making an add-on acquisition through the purchase of True/Slant, a news-oriented blogging site.

The acquisition marks a return to dealmaking for the New York publisher, which in 2007 bought the investing site Investopedia.com and a 51 percent stake in the conservative-oriented RealClearPolitics.com but had been largely on the sidelines for the past two years. The firm also recently made a splash with the proposed acquisition of portfolio company Palm Inc. by Hewlett-Packard Inc.

Forbes announced May 25 that it had reached an agreement in principle to buy the year-old site, but it did not disclose financial details. Monie Begley, a spokeswoman for the company, said Forbes expects the deal to close within a matter of weeks.

But more than the blogging site itself, Forbes seemed to want to bring home Lewis Dvorkin, True/Slant’s founder and chief executive, who had been executive editor of Forbes Magazine from December 1996 to April 2000 before moving to AOL as senior vice president of programming.

Dvorkin is to be chief product officer at Forbes Media, overseeing all of its editorial areas. Among other things, he will be responsible for redesigning both the biweekly financial magazine and its companion Web site.

“With all of Forbes’s great experts, the wealth of Forbes data, and its real-time web features, we have a unique ability to stimulate the social media conversation,” said Tim Forbes, the company’s president and chief operating officer, in the press release announcing the deal. At AOL, Dvorkin had overseen news, sports and network programming and had played a key role in the launch of the TMZ.com gossip site.

He launched True/Slant in April 2009, with a roster of more than 50 contributors and a goal of fostering an active community of followers who would read, and comment on, the writers’ reports. Perhaps the best-known of the site’s contributors was Matt Taibbi, the author and national affairs writer at Rolling Stone magazine. Taibbi, a noted critic of Wall Street (he famously called Goldman Sachs “a giant vampire squid”), announced his departure from True/Slant the day before the Forbes announcement, apparently in the belief that his viewpoint might not mesh well with the conservative culture at Forbes. Malcolm “Steve” Forbes Jr., the company’s chairman and chief executive, sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000 with a platform of tax cuts and deregulation.

News magazines have suffered in competition with Internet publishers, especially since the economic downturn that began at the end of 2007. Bloomberg LP bought BusinessWeek magazine in October, and the Washington Post Co. put Newsweek up for sale last month.

Elevation Partners, which took an undisclosed stake in Forbes Media in August 2006, did not respond to a request for comment.