London-based education and media company Pearson may keep selling premium media assets.
Pearson, which sold salmon-coloured newspaper the Financial Times to Japan’s Nikkei this week for $US1.3 billion, is also in talks to exit The Economist Group.
According to one report, the other co-owners of The Economist Group may raise funding to buy out the Pearson portion of the company.
In a July 25 statement, a Pearson representative said: “Pearson confirms it is in discussions with The Economist Group board and trustees regarding the potential sale of our 50% share in the group. There is no certainty that this process will lead to a transaction.”
Reuters reported that The Economist Group is substantially more profitable than the Financial Times. The Economist Group reported an annual adjusted operating profit of 67 million pounds ($US103 million) in June, to the 24 million pounds ($US37 million) of adjusted operating profit at the FT in 2014.
Pearson controls a 50% stake in The Economist Group. The remainder of the ownership is divided among four wealthy families: the Cadburys, the Rothschilds, the Schroders and the Agnellis. Some of the staff of The Economist Group also control shares in the company, which is private.
Pearson could still sell more of its media assets. The company also owns a large minority stake in publisher Penguin Random House. Last year, Bloomberg reported German media company Bertelsmann, which owns the majority portion of Penguin Random House, could attempt to buy out Pearson as early as this October.
Pearson has been paring down its media assets in recent years. The company also sold premium bankruptcy, distressed debt and M&A reporting service Mergermarket to private equity firm BC Partners in 2013.