Publishing giant Pearson PLC may be exploring a sale of the Financial Times newspaper after being approached by potential buyers, according to a report Monday by Bloomberg. The rumored sale could fetch Pearson as much as $1.6 billion for the pink British daily, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources.
Bloomberg said the Financial Times may draw interest from major publishers, such as Axel Springer SE in Germany, or investors in Europe, Asia or the Middle East. No formal negotiations are underway.
A Pearson spokesperson declined to comment, citing a long-standing policy of “never commenting on market rumors about our portfolio.”
According to Pearson, about 70 percent of the Financial Times’ paying audience comes from digital subscriptions. FT.com has been an outlier in the ongoing debate over the viability of newspaper paywalls. The paper keeps much of its content walled off from non-paying visitors and it seems to thrive nonetheless. Circulation numbers grew 10 percent last year to a record 720,000, according to Pearson, which does not break out the paper’s individual revenue. The Financial Times Group is part of Pearson’s education business. The London-based company, the largest book publisher in the world, purchased the Financial Times in 1957.
Rumors of a potential Financial Times sale have been floating around on and off for years, beginning shortly before the departure of Marjorie Scardino, its longtime chief executive, in 2012. At that time, Bloomberg, which is thought to be a likely buyer, also reported that Pearson was exploring a sale.
Read the original report here.