Pearson Sells Financial Times to Nikkei, CEO John Fallon Statement

UPDATE (video above) July 24, 2015: Why Nikkei paid Pearson $1.3 billion for the Financial Times: Japan’s biggest financial news publisher surprised the media world by buying the Financial Times and paying a quite a premium compared to other recent newspaper deals. Nikkei Inc., whose flagship Nihon Keizai Shimbun is Japan’s leading business daily, is paying $1.3 billion to Pearson Plc to buy the FT Group, which owns the salmon-hued paper with an editorial team of roughly 500 journalists in more than 50 locations around the world.

Pearson PLC, 5-year stock chart NYSE: PSO
Pearson PLC, 5-year stock chart above (source: google.com)
Pearson NYSE:PSO (5-year chart above) announced today it has agreed to sell its financial media asset Financial Times (FT) to Nikkei, a Japanese financial newspaper. Statement at Pearson to sell FT Group to Nikkei Inc.

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Pearson CEO John Fallon to Pearson staff (emphasis added)--

"Dear Colleagues,

Today we have made a significant announcement, which is that we have agreed to sell the Financial Times to Nikkei. This is an important moment for both Pearson and the FT, so I wanted to share more about what’s happening and why.

For fifty-eight years, Pearson has been the proud owner of the Financial Times. We’ve invested in its global expansion and digital transformation, through good times and bad; and all the time, protecting its editorial independence and championing the quality and breadth of its journalism. Both Pearson and the FT have benefited greatly from the relationship. The FT is recognised across the globe as an intelligent and authoritative commentator on world events, finance, commerce and economics.

As you all also know, in recent years, we’ve developed an increasing focus on our biggest, most exciting opportunity – to help people make progress in their lives through learning. As that opportunity has crystalised, it’s become clear to me and the Pearson board that the scale of the challenge requires our undivided attention.

The changing media landscape

At the same time, we are at an inflection point in global media.The pace of disruptive change in new technology – in particular, the explosive growth of mobile and social media – poses a direct challenge to how the FT produces and sells its journalism. It presents the FT with a great opportunity too – to reach more readers than ever before, in new and exciting ways.

Nikkei has a long and distinguished track record of quality, impartiality and reliability in its journalism and global viewpoint.The Board and I are confident that the FT will continue to flourish under Nikkei’s ownership.

I’ve every confidence in the FT’s ability to seize the moment, as it has done ably so far, in its digital transformation. The readership is at an all time high, with readers willing to pay more than ever for its journalism. But, after much reflection and detailed analysis of both the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, we have concluded that the best way to ensure the FT’s continuing journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news organisation that is 100% focused on these same issues.

The FT remains part of Pearson until we complete the transaction around the end of this year. I’m very pleased that we will continue to work together in areas like business education and teaching English to professionals in countries such as China.

I’ll be over at the FT later this afternoon to meet in person with as many colleagues as possible.

I know many of you across Pearson will have questions about what this means for our Professional line of business, of which the FT is a part. Pearson VUE and our English business remain incredibly important to Pearson, and are a big part of our future. John Ridding, Bob Whelan and Tas Viglatzis will be in touch directly with the Professional teams today, and in the weeks ahead, to keep everyone updated.

Looking Ahead

We plan to reinvest the proceeds from today’s sale to accelerate our push into digital learning, educational services and emerging markets. We will focus our investment on products and businesses with a bigger, bolder impact on learning outcomes, underpinned by a stronger brand and high-performing culture.

This will help us progress toward a future where learning is more effective, affordable, personal and accessible for people who need it most. By doing so, we can help more people discover a love of learning and make progress in their lives.

This is the promise of learning– and the future of Pearson."

Pearson PLC is a British multinational publishing and education company headquartered in London. It is the largest education company and the largest book publisher in the world. (source: Wikipedia)

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