Today, Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO) announced that it would agree to sell its FT Group, including its ownership of Financial Times newspaper, to Japanese newspaper service Nikkei, for about 844 million pounds ($1.3 billion).
The deal with Nikkei does not include Pearson's 50 percent stake in the Economist group, but does include their Russian joint venture Vedomosti.
Although the company has been a proud proprietor of Financial Times for nearly 60 years, Chief Executive of Pearson, John Fallon claims that the newspaper service will continue its success through a global, digital market.
In 2014, Financial Times expanded its print and online service by 10% year-over-year to nearly 720,000. Digital subscriptions rose 21% to about 504,000, which is 70 percent of FT’s total consumers.
"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," he said in a statement.
In February, Pearson reported a fall in net profit for 2014 to 470 million pounds, compared with 538 pounds million the year before. Adjusted operating profit, before restructuring charges, fell 5% to 720 million pounds, in line with company forecasts. Sales fell 4% to 4.87 billion pounds, in line with market forecasts, with North America revenues down 3%.
Pearson shares rose 2.2 percent to 1,235 pence in London, valuing the company at 10.1 billion pounds.
“I am extremely proud of teaming up with the Financial Times, one of the most prestigious news organizations 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.” Said Chairman and Group CEO of Nikkei, Tsuneo Kita.
A contribution will be made to the Pearson group pension plan following closing of the transaction, expected to be around 90 million pounds.