Pearson Confident of FT’s Independence Under Nikkei

Pearson has said it is confident that the editorial independence of the Financial Times will continue under its new owners Nikkei. Pearson announced last week that it has agreed the sale of FT Group to Nikkei for £844 million.  

The agreement does not include FT Group’s London property at One Southwark Bridge and Pearson’s 50 per cent share in The Economist Group. It has been reported that Pearson is now in talks with fellow shareholders over a potential sale of its stake in the Economist.

The transaction with Nikkei is subject to a number of regulatory approvals and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015, Pearson said.

John Fallon, Pearson chief executive, 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 per cent 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”.

Fallon told Radio 4’s Today programme that Pearson had always had a “completely hands-off approach to the editorial freedom… I spent extensive time with Nikkei management and discussing this with senior colleagues at the Financial Times and I have every reason and every confidence to believe that Nikkei will take exactly the same approach.”

Tsuneo Kita, Nikkei chairman and group chief executive, said: “I am extremely proud of teaming up with the Financial Times, one of the most prestigious news organizations 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.”