Is the Financial Times really for sale this time?

Tue, 21 Jul 2015 | BUSINESS SALE

Sale rumours have circulated around the Financial Times before, but this time they might just become more than rumours.

A report published by Bloomberg on Monday 20 July 2015 indicated that Pearson PLC, the company behind the business paper, is said to be exploring a sale of the Financial Times.

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Pearson has received interest from potential buyers and is now looking at the viability of a deal. Two of the sources, who wished to remain anonymous due to the confidential nature of the discussions, said that a sale of the paper could value it at as much as £1 billion.

In a phone interview with Bloomberg, Alex DeGroote, an analyst with Peel Hunt, said that the suggested price was an “extraordinary valuation”, adding that if Pearson manage to get £1 billion for the paper, he will “eat his hat”.

While the rumoured valuation might be a little high, the paper is certainly something of a trophy brand and Pearson are unlikely to sell it without some serious consideration.

Digital publishing giant Axel Springer is among those suggested to be interested in buying the Financial Times.

This is not the first time that a sale has been on the cards – back in 2005, Pearson were under pressure from shareholders and analysts suggested that a sale of the paper could net them somewhere in the region of £700 million.

Then in 2012, Bloomberg once again stated that Pearson were considering exploring a sale of the paper to enable Pearson to shift its focus onto its education businesses. The departure of the then chief executive Marjorie Scardino was cited as a potential catalyst for a sale as Scardino had always rejected outright the possibility of a sale.

The salmon-coloured paper is a top quality business daily and has been published for the past 127 years.


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