British publisher Pearson in 'advanced' talks to sell Financial Times newspaper

British publisher Pearson is in "advanced" talks to sell its flagship business newspaper the Financial Times to an unnamed suitor.
British publisher Pearson is in "advanced" talks to sell its flagship business newspaper the Financial Times to an unnamed suitor.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - British publisher Pearson has decided to sell the Financial Times to a global, digital news company after owning the newspaper for nearly 60 years, a person familiar with the deal said on Thursday.

Pearson later confirmed that it was in advanced discussions regarding a potential disposal of the title but declined to provide further details.

Pearson, which has become the world's leader in educational publishing, believes the time is right to focus fully on its education strategy and no longer on the media sector, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Previous reports from other news organisations have suggested the title could fetch around 1 billion pounds, however analysts believe that is optimistic. Reports have suggested potential buyers include Bloomberg, German newspaper publisher Axel Springer and Thomson Reuters.

A spokesman for Thomson Reuters declined to comment.

The 171-year-old company also owns a large stake in the Penguin Random House publisher.

The group is due to report results on Friday.

Shares in Pearson were up 2.2 per cent.

A sale of the global business newspaper has long been the subject of speculation as Pearson moved increasingly into the provision of education services in North America and in emerging markets. The group had however said it maintained committed to the paper due to its strong brand.