Saturday, August 20

Pearson confirms plans to sell the Financial Times



Admits to advanced discussions with unnamed suitor in statement following heightened speculation.

Pearson has confirmed it is in advanced talks to sell the Financial Times to an unidentified buyer.

A spokesman for the company said: “Pearson notes recent press speculation and confirms that it is in advanced discussions regarding the potential disposal of FT Group although there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.

Quotes in the article

“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

The stock market statement followed a report by Bloomberg earlier this week that Pearson was exploring a sale, and a Reuters report on Thursday morning claiming an announcement was “imminent”.

Reuters said a “global, digital news company” was in line to buy the FT.

Speculation focused on Bloomberg. Its billionaire founder, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, has previously expressed interest in owning a major newspaper.

Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg’s main rival as a financial newswire, has also been speculated as a potential buyer.

As well as the FT itself, the FT Group includes magazines such as the Investors Chronicle, and a 50pc stake in the Economist.

It has been suggested Pearson is seeking as much as £1bn. The company has been gradually moving away from broad-based publishing in recent years to focus on its education businesses.

Last month a spokesman for the FT told The Telegraph it was “not for sale” and that it had “never been more closely connected to Pearson’s overall strategy”.

Shares in Pearson rose 2.3pc on the news immediately following the announcement.

Earlier this week analysts claimed a sale was unlikely, partly because of the FT’s pension deficit, which with low interest rates could put a large dent in Pearson’s proceeds.