Pearson denies 'Financial Times' is up for sale

Pearson has been forced into issuing a strongly worded denial following a report that it is considering selling its flagship newspaper the 'Financial Times.'

Pearson has been forced into issuing a strongly worded denial following a report that it is considering selling its flagship newspaper the Financial Times.

The publisher dismissed a Bloomberg report that it was exploring a sale of the FT as it sought to focus on its faster-growing education business.

The report said Pearson could consider offers for the title this year, even before the company's chief executive Marjorie Scardino is replaced by new boss John Fallon in January.

In response to the report, Pearson said: "We have said many times that the FT is a valued and valuable part of Pearson. We are not in the habit of responding to rumors, speculation, or reports about our portfolio. However, this particular Bloomberg story is wrong."

Bloomberg, the parent company of Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek, as well as Thomson Reuters and News Corp. – owner of The Times and The Sun – could be potential bidders for the FT should it come up for sale.

There could also be bids from parties who want the Financial Times as a trophy asset, despite its falling circulation.

The newspaper is part of the FT Group division of Pearson, which also owns 50% of The Economist magazine.

One source said the Financial Times was valued at about $800 million in the market. Other reports value the title at almost double that. Another source told MediaWeek that Pearson would look at offers for the newspaper.

The FT has long been subject to rumor that it could be up for sale, despite strong protestations from Scardino, who said the title would be sold "over my dead body."

For more UK-based media stories, visit MediaWeek.

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