Pearson sells FT for £844m

Pearson sells FT for £844m

Pearson has sold the FT Group to the Japanese Nikkei Inc for £844m.

The company confirmed earlier today it was in “advanced talks” on the sale of the FT Group, which includes the Financial Times, and has now revealed Nikkei will buy the group for a gross consideration of £844m, payable in cash.

Pearson’s c.e.o John Fallon said Pearson had reached an “inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social” and that the best future for the newspaper lay within being part of a “global, digital news company.”

Nikkei Inc is based in Tokyo, Japan, and publishes newspapers and magazines. The company offers the Nikkei Asian Review, a business publication covering insights about Asia covering policy and politics, economy, business, markets, and international relations.

John Fallon, Pearson's chief executive, said: "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. 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.

“Nikkei has a long and distinguished track record of quality, impartiality and reliability in its journalism and global viewpoint. The board and I are confident that the FT will continue to flourish under Nikkei's ownership".

Fallon added that Pearson would now be “100% focused on our global education strategy.”

“The world of education is changing profoundly and we see huge opportunity to grow our business through increasing access to high quality education globally,” he said.

The FT’s total circulation across print and digital rose more than 30% over the last five years to 737,000, with digital circulation growing to represent 70% of the total, from 24%, and mobile driving almost half of all traffic. Content and services now account for the majority of revenues.

Tsuneo Kita, chairman and group c.e.o of Nikkei, said: "I am extremely proud of teaming up with the Financial Times, one of the most prestigious news organisations in the world. Our motto of providing high-quality reporting on economic and other news, while maintaining fairness and impartiality, is very close to that of the FT. We share the same journalistic values. Together, we will strive to contribute to the development of the global economy."

In 2014, FT Group contributed £334m of sales and £24m of adjusted operating income to Pearson, the company said.

The sale agreement does not include FT Group's London property at One Southwark Bridge and Pearson's 50% stake in The Economist Group.