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Fortune Magazine Says Steve Forbes Worth Nearly $440 Million

January 15, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Multimillionaire Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes has been reluctant to spell out just how much he’s worth.

But a competitor of the magazine that bears his family name has taken a shot at doing it for him.

Fortune magazine estimates in its Feb. 5 edition that Forbes has a personal net worth of $439 million, mostly from his inherited stake in the family publishing and land empire.

On the annual Forbes magazine list, that would put Forbes among the 300 richest Americans _ roughly between William Randolph Hearst III of San Francisco, estimated to be worth $450 million, and Richard Edwin Marriott of Washington, at $430 million.

Forbes Inc.’s entire holdings are worth $1.17 billion, Fortune estimates. Other family members own much of the rest of the firm.

In an 11-page article, Fortune also accused Forbes magazine of writing favorable and misleading stories to please major advertisers and said the Forbes family enriched itself through ``aggressive tax avoidance.″

Fortune also criticized the rival magazine for leaving Forbes family members off of its annual list of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people.

Campaigning in Alaska Sunday, Forbes, the magazine’s president and editor in chief, attributed the report to sour grapes.

``Fortune is a direct competitor. I’m astonished that they would go after me the way they are. And I think it shows that they are sore losers. We’ve beaten them competitively for the last 10 years. We’ve really cleaned their clocks and so they’re hitting back the only way they know how,″ Forbes said at a campaign fund-raising luncheon at a downtown Anchorage hotel Sunday.

Forbes so far has spent $12 million of his own money on his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, mostly on TV ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona and South Carolina promoting a flat tax.

That free spending has led to a high profile among likely Republican voters. In recent weeks, Forbes has appeared in second place in many polls behind the front-runner, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas.

Forbes has declined to discuss his finances in detail or release his income tax records. That is not required under federal law, although some presidential candidates do so voluntarily.

Because Forbes Inc. is privately owned, the company does not make public its sales, assets or profits.

Fortune magazine consulted analysts who follow the publishing industry to estimate Forbes Inc.’s revenues and cash flow, said John House, Fortune’s managing editor.

Fortune also talked to experts in art and real estate, and examined the limited information Forbes must submit to the Federal Election Commission.

``We used essentially the same techniques that they use in their Forbes 400,″ Huey said.

Fortune estimated that Steve Forbes’ personal wealth includes:

_ A 35 percent stake in Forbes Inc., worth $407.4 million.

_ A New Jersey house and farm worth $26.5 million.

_ Stock and other investments worth $5 million.

Forbes had listed the value of his investment portfolio, in FEC filings last fall, as between $2.6 million and $7.5 million. Fortune magazine split that.

According to the FEC filing, Forbes was paid $1.4 million a year by the family magazine until taking an unpaid leave. Forbes inherited his stake in the company from his father.

Forbes Inc.’s $1.17 billion in holdings include, according to Fortune:

_ Magazines, including Forbes magazine and American Heritage magazine, worth $750 million.

_ Art collections worth $200 million.

_ Colorado land worth $76 million and Missouri Ozarks land worth $14.5 million.

_ A private Fiji resort island, called Laucala, worth $70 million.

_ A yacht worth $14 million.