Pearson in 'advanced talks' to sell FT

Pearson in 'advanced talks' to sell FT

Pearson has confirmed it is in “advanced discussions” to sell the FT Group.

Press speculation has been rife this week that a sale has been made ahead of Pearson’s half-year results, which are due to be reported tomorrow morning (24th July).

While Pearson confirmed it is in talks to sell the FT Group, which includes the Financial Times, a spokesperson warned there was “no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.”

The full statement 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. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate."

Reuters has reported the interested buyer is a global digital media company, although which has not been revealed. Previous names linked to the sale have included Axel Springer, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.

The Guardian has speculated that Pearson could receive as much as £1bn for the sale of the newspaper group, which is edited by Lionel Barber and founded in 1888.

Pearson's annual financial report revealed sales fell 4% year-on-year in the year to 31st December 2014 to £4.9bn, while total adjusted operating profit decreased 2% to £722m. The company attributed the drop in sales and profits partly to currency movements, primarily the strength of the pound compared to the US dollar, as well as restructuring charges of £44m last year.

The charges related to Pearson’s reorganisation into two business streams—global lines of business and geographic market categories - first announced in 2013.