Nikkei buys Financial Times in $1.8b deal

British publisher Pearson has agreed to sell the Financial Times to Japanese media group Nikkei as part of a deal valued at £844 million ($A1.8 billion).

Nikkei will take over the FT Group, which includes FT.com, however the deal does not include FT Group’s 50-per cent stake in The Economist magazine, or the London offices where the paper is based, AFP reports.

“Pearson has been a proud proprietor of the FT for nearly 60 years. But we’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social,” Pearson’s chief executive John Fallon said in a statement.

“In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.” He said the sale should be completed later this year.

The sale will leave Pearson as the world leader in education publishing and the owner of a 47 per cent stake in the Penguin Random House book publisher.

Analysts and investors have long expected the 171-year-old Pearson to sell the FT at some point, after it changed strategy to focus on education.

Reuters reports Pearson has disposed of other assets and put its Penguin book publisher into a joint venture with Random House.

Despite the relative stability of the FT, Person believed the time is right for it to focus solely on education, Reuters says.

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