Pearson PLC announced Thursday that it has sold the Financial Times Group to the Japanese media corporation Nikkei for $1.3 billion. The move defied expectations that the bid would go to Berlin media group Axel Springer SE.

“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," Pearson CEO John Fallon said in a release. "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."

Fallon added that Pearson will now be able to concentrate on its main business of education, working out new strategies to grow its business.

"Nikkei has a long and distinguished track record of quality, impartiality and reliability in its journalism and global viewpoint," he said. "The Board and I are confident that the FT will continue to flourish under Nikkei’s ownership.”

Nikkei's Chairman and CEO Tsuneo Kita said that his media corporation shares "the same values" as the Financial Times.

“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."

The Financial Times, founded in 1888, has 720,000 subscribers to its print and digital editions.