Pearson completes FT sale

Pearson completes FT sale

Pearson has today (30th November) completed the sale of FT Group to Nikkei Inc for £844m in cash.

The deal, first announced in July after Nikkei outbid German rival Axel Springer, marks the end of 58 years of ownership by world education publisher Pearson.

Pearson c.e.o John Fallon, who took the role in 2013, reflected on Pearson's last day as the Financial Times' owner in a blog. Giving his reasons for the sale of the newspaper group, he reitterated the company's 100% focus on education.

He said: "Pearson could not divide attention between two such crucial efforts" while global media had reached "an inflection point".

"Education was already 90% of our business, and the FT deserved to be at the heart of a business totally focused on the future of global media," Fallon said. "Meanwhile Pearson is now totally focused on our biggest opportunity – making global education more accessible and more effective, and meeting the needs of millions of students all over the world who seek a better life. It’s a long term opportunity, and a complex one too – but it’s an inspiring goal, and one which we are better equipped to fulfil than anyone else."

Its values of editorial independence and integrity played a “key part” in negotiations with Nikkei, according to Fallon in an article with The Times.

A joint statement was released by the on behalf of the FT and Nikkei, emphasising the potential of the partnership's "unrivalled global reach", which will see the FT  spearheading the Nikkei Group’s English language expansion.

"It is our great honour to welcome the FT to the Nikkei family,” said Tsuneo Kita, chairman and group c.e.o of Nikkei Inc. “Nikkei and the FT share the same mission: to provide trustworthy, independent and insightful journalism. The FT’s trusted brand and innovative use of digital technology will be invaluable to Nikkei Group as it implements its strategy for global growth. I am fully convinced that this partnership puts us on the right trajectory to be the world’s premier business media.”

Nikkei’s circulation is 2.7m (daily print) with 430,000 digital subscriptions; the FT attracts a circulation of more than 750,000 including 550,000 digital subscriptions.

Earlier this month, The Bookseller reported that Pearson investors had “little visibility” on what the company may do in the next few months, one analyst warned, while another has said further restructuring at the academic publisher was “almost inevitable.”