LONDON – Pearson, the education and publishing group which earlier this week sold the Financial Times to Nikkei Inc., on Saturday confirmed that it is in talks to sell its 50 percent stake in The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist.
Pearson said that it is in discussions with The Economist Group board and trustees regarding the “potential sale” of its stake in the group, adding that “there is no certainty that this process will lead to a transaction.”
The statement came after The Financial Times reported Saturday that Pearson is in talks to sell the stake to other shareholders in the group, citing people close to the situation. The report estimated that Pearson’s 50 percent shareholding would be worth about 400 million pounds, or $620 million.
The report said that other shareholders who could potentially be interested in the stake include Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and his wife, Lynn Forester de Rothschild; the Agnelli family, which owns around 5 percent of The Economist Group through its vehicle Exor, alongside the Cadbury and Schroder families.
As reported, Pearson sold the FT Group to Nikkei Inc. for 844 million pounds, or $1.32 billion at current exchange Thursday. The sale excluded Pearson’s holding in The Economist Group as well as the FT’s headquarters building in Southwark, London. John Fallon, chief executive officer of Pearson, stated at the time that the firm would now focus entirely on its global education business, producing and publishing educational resources. “The world of education is changing profoundly, and we see huge opportunity to grow our business through increasing access to high quality education globally,” he said.