Pearson sells 'Financial Times' to Japanese group Nikkei for around 844 million pounds

London: The Financial Times, one of Britain's best-known newspapers owned by publishing giant Pearson, has been sold to Japanese digital media group Nikkei for around 844 million pounds.

Pearson, which owned the title, announced the sale of its salmon-pink flagship business newspaper 'FT' -- as it is
popularly referred to -- in London today after speculation had built up over the newspaper's future.

Several media groups had been named as potential buyers but German publishing group Axel Springer was seen as the front runner.

Nikkei announced the all-cash agreement with Pearson in an email to subscribers, ending Pearson's 58-year association with the FT Group.

Besides the 'Financial Times' newspaper, the FT Group's sale comprises a number of related titles like FT.com, 'The Banker' and 'Investors Chronicle' and a 50 per cent stake in the Economist Group, publisher of the 'Economist' magazine. 

According to the 'Financial Times', Pearson said Nikkei would make a 90-million pounds contribution to the Pearson group pension plan, and the company said it had committed to funding the pension plan to self-sufficiency in the near term. 

Pearson said the balance of the proceeds will be used by the company for general corporate purposes and investment in its global education strategy.

John Fallon, Pearson's chief executive, said: "Pearson has been a proud proprietor of the FT for nearly 60 years. But we have 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." 

Tsuneo Kita, chairman and group chief executive 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," Tsuneo said.

The FT has an editorial team of 500 journalists in more than 50 locations around the world.

It was first published as a four-page newspaper in 1888 and was bought by Pearson in 1957.

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