LONDON – Pearson PLC, the owner of the Financial Times, said Thursday it’s in “advanced discussions” about the potential sale of FT Group.
The FT reported that the potential buyer is German newspaper company Axel Springer, which publishes mass-circulation tabloid Bild and national daily Die Welt. It cited “several people familiar with the situation.”
Pearson did not identify potential buyers, saying only that it would make an announcement “if and when appropriate.” It added that there is “no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.”
Pearson, which counts educational products and services as its core business, acquired the salmon-colored newspaper in 1957. The FT Group includes the Financial Times, FT.com, a 50 percent stake in The Economist Group, and a joint venture with Vedomosti, a Russian business newspaper.
Pearson is an international leader in educational publishing and is believed to want to focus more in that sector.
Rumors about the potential sale had emerged earlier this week. Similar speculation that Pearson would sell off the business daily have circulated for years. In 2013, chief executive John Fallon said the paper was a “valued and valuable part of Pearson” and that it wasn’t for sale.
Pearson’s share price was up 2.2 percent in afternoon trading in London. Axel Springer’s share price was down more than 2 percent in Frankfurt.
The group is due to publish half-year results Friday.