Pearson confirms Economist sale talks

Pearson confirms Economist sale talks

Pearson has confirmed that it is in talks to sell The Economist Group.

The company said it is “in discussions” with the board of The Economist Group and with trustees regarding sale of its 50% share.

“There is no certainty that this process will lead to a transaction,” said a statement from Pearson. The company said it would make further announcements “if and when appropriate”.

Investment company Exor confirmed it was looking to increase its shares in The Economist Group. A statement from Exor said: “Were it to proceed, Exor’s increased investment would in any event represent a minority shareholding in The Economist (in which it has been a supportive investor since 2009) also reflecting EXOR's strong commitment to the editorial independence that lies at the heart of The Economist's ethos and success.”

The Economist Group includes the Economist magazine, research company the Economist Intelligence Unit and the US legislative information provider CQ Roll Call.

Last week Pearson sold the FT Group, which includes the Financial Times, to the Japanese Nikkei Inc for £844m.

Pearson said on Friday (24th July) that reported group sales were up 1% to £2.2bn, while losses before tax increased to £115m in the last six months.

In response to a question about whether Pearson would next look to dispose of its stake in Penguin Random House, John Fallon, c.e.o of Pearson, said: “We have a 47% share in Penguin Random House and we are very happy to continue to be shareholders with the progress they are making.”

Adjusted operating profit for Penguin Random House was £24m in the last six months, up 33% from £18m in the same period the year before.