Pearson agrees sale of One Southwark Bridge for £115m

Pearson agrees sale of One Southwark Bridge for £115m

Pearson has agreed the sale of the FT's freehold and corporate headquarters at One Southwark Bridge to M&G Real Estate for £115m.

The education company, which sold the FT Group to Nikkei three years ago for £844m, said the latest disposal represents "further progress in Pearson’s ongoing simplification strategy and the consolidation of its property footprint". This includes its previously announced London property strategy, which involves Pearson exploring options for leasing 80 Strand, where Penguin Random House is based. 

Pearson and M&G have exchanged contracts and aim to complete by the end of 2018.

The property is currently home to the Financial Times until it returns to its former headquarters at Bracken House in mid-2019. The terms of the deal will not impact the FT’s current lease obligations.

Pearson said its priorities for capital allocation remain unchanged, with a focus on "maintaining a strong balance sheet, continuing to invest in the business, maintaining a progressive dividend and returning any surplus cash to shareholders".

Ben Almond, global head of property at Pearson, commented: “This is an important step for Pearson in simplifying its UK property portfolio and becoming a leaner and more efficient company.”

According to its nine-month trading update, reported last month, Pearson is on track to deliver underlying profit growth in 2018 as well as £300m of savings per year by the end of 2019 onwards.