Financial Times sold to Japanese media group Nikkei for £844m

One of the oldest newspapers in the world, Financial Times, has been sold to Japanese financial media for a whopping £844 million.

Financial Times has changed hands

127-year-old Financial Times formerly owned by its British owners, Pearson of London, has been sold to Japanese financial media, Nikkei for £844 million, in what appears to be the biggest newspaper sale the world has seen.

The sale of FT by Pearson, whose pink pages are as much a symbol of the City as the pinstriped suit, comes after years of speculation over its long-term commitment to owning the FT, demonstrates the eagerness of cash-rich international investors looking to expand into a financial news landscape dominated by the English language.

Pearson, which bought the FT in 1957, said it had decided to sell in order to focus on its far larger educational publishing business in the US.

John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said:

“Education and journalism are both great and noble callings but they are not the same thing and require different skills, capabilities and intensity of focus."

Analysis of FT's new owners Nikkei are cut from the same template.

Nikkei chief executive says:

"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.

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.”

Little known in the UK, Nikkei – founded in 1876 – is one of the largest media companies in Japan, spanning newspapers, broadcasting, magazines and digital media. The group includes a flagship newspaper of the same name, which has 3 million subscribers, TV Tokyo and finance and a business news channel, Nikkei CNBC.

The sale does not include Pearson’s frequently coveted 50% share in the Economist group or the FT’s headquarters building by the Thames in London. Under the terms of the deal, Nikkei, which is the largest independent business media group in Asia, will pay a commercial rent for the FT’s building once the takeover is finalised at the end of the year.


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