The London-based Financial Times has been sold to Nikkei, Japan’s largest media company, in a deal said to be worth £844m. The sale of the British publishing icon was announced on Thursday hours after owners Pearson confirmed that it was in “advanced talks” to sell the business newspaper, which it has owned for nearly 60 years.
Breitbart London reported speculation Wednesday that the famous masthead was in play and the Guardian has now confirmed that. The sale does not include the 50 per cent share in the Economist group or the FT’s headquarters by the River Thames in London.
The Japanese company emerged as the new owner following speculation that the buyer could be German publishing group Axel Springer initially emerging as the most likely buyer.
Nikkei is one of the largest media companies in Japan, spanning newspapers, broadcasting, magazines and digital media. The group includes flagship newspaper Nikkei, which has 3 million subscribers, English language business title Nikkei Asian Review, TV Tokyo and finance and business news channel, Nikkei CBNC.
Founded in 1876, it is 12 years older than the Financial Times and employs just over 3,000 people. The company has 54 domestic news bureaus and 36 overseas.
Four hours after the Guardian first reported the deal, John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, confirmed the sale finalisation in the online edition of the paper: He said:
“Pearson has been a proud proprietor of the FT for nearly 60 years. But we’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social. In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.
“Pearson will now be 100% focused on our global education strategy. The world of education is changing profoundly and we see huge opportunity to grow our business through increasing access to high quality education globally.
“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”.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman and group CEO of Nikkei, said he was “extremely proud of teaming up with the Financial Times, one of the most prestigious news organisations in the world. Our motto of providing high-quality reporting on economic and other news, while maintaining fairness and impartiality, is very close to that of the FT. We share the same journalistic values. Together, we will strive to contribute to the development of the global economy.”