In Sale of Financial Times, Pearson Sheds Weight and Gains Pounds

Mergers and Acquisitions

In Sale of Financial Times, Pearson Sheds Weight and Gains Pounds

Jul 23, 2015

GONE WITH THE TIMES: Publishing giant Pearson is shedding weight—and gaining pounds. Today, the British company has agreed to sell FT Group, which includes The Financial Times (FT), to Japan’s largest media company, Nikkei, for £844 million (approximately US $1.3 billion). Founded in 1888 and bought by Pearson in 1957, FT has been one of the most venerable business publications, with a current print and digital circulation of 737,000.

The deal marks a major step in Pearson’s aggressive effort to reorganize its assets and focus on the digital education market. In a blog post about the sale, CEO John Fallon shared:

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.

Even within its education portfolio, the company is making big cuts. This past June, Pearson sold PowerSchool, a popular—and profitable—student information system, to a private equity firm for $350 million. According to Fallon, PowerSchool was an “administrative system” that did not directly impact student outcomes.

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