Pearson Exploring FT Sale

Pearson Exploring FT SalePearson Exploring FT Sale

Pearson Plc is exploring a sale of the Financial Times after receiving interest from potential buyers, a report said.

London-based Pearson is sounding out possible bidders for the salmon-colored newspaper, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. A sale may value the business at as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion), Bloomberg quoted two of the people as saying.

While there is no formal process under way, the Financial Times may draw interest from media companies such as Axel Springer SE as well as investors in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the people said. Pearson shares rose more than 5% intraday, erasing earlier losses and trading at 1,271 pence as of 2:27 p.m. in London. The company has a market value of £10.4 billion ($16.2 billion).

Discussions over a disposal, which have been on and off for years, have heated up as Chief Executive Officer John Fallon focuses on tackling a slowdown in the education unit weighed on by declining US college enrollments and falling textbook sales. FT’s circulation reached 720,000 last year, with digital subscriptions accounting for 70% of the total.