Pearson To Sell Mergermarket, But Plans To Keep Financial Times

 @AlexCKaufman
on July 26 2013 11:23 AM
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Pearson, which owns the Financial Times, said the salmon-colored broadsheet isn't on the block with Mergermarket. Pictured is a copy of FT displayed for sale in a newsagent in central London, July 28, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

Pearson PLC (NYSE:PSO) is selling its Mergermarket financial data company but said the Financial Times newspaper won't be shopped out.

The media and education company said on Friday that it will explore selling the business, part of its FT Group, which earns about $154 million in annual revenue. It has hired JPMorgan Cazenove (NYSE:JPM), JPMorgan’s British investment bank, to broker a deal, a Pearson spokesman said.

"We are initiating this prcoess for the possible sale of Mergermarket because, while Mergermarket is a growing and profitable business, we see no operational or strategic links between Mergermarket and Pearson's global education business," Charles Goldsmith, a spokesman for Pearson, told International Business Times in an email. 

CEO John Fallon said that Mergermarket has “flourished,” but he couldn't see the logic in keeping the financial intelligence service as part of the company, which is focused on education services.

Since he succeeded Dame Marjorie Scardino, the former CEO who had long prized the company’s salmon-colored newspaper despite losses similar to those that plague the entire print industry, speculation has mounted that Fallon would sell the FT.

“As I said at our last results presentation in February, the Financial Times is a valued and valuable part of Pearson,” he said. “The FT is not for sale, there has been no process or any discussions about selling the FT and there have been no approaches regarding the FT.”

Digital subscriptions to the FT, which is behind a paywall, grew 14 percent year on year to 343,000 in the first half, showing a modest uptick in paid circulation sales.

The FT Group also includes Pearson’s 50 percent stake in the Economist Group, which reported static revenues of more than $334 million in the first half of the year.

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