Bloomberg report on FT sale is wrong, says FT

Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times, has denied a report by rival business publisher Bloomberg that it is considering offers for the newspaper.

Bloomberg reported last night that Pearson was planning to explore the sale of the FT to focus on its education business and was valuing the newspaper group at up to £1bn.

It reported that “Pearson may initiate sale preparations” ahead of the departure of Marjorie Scardino, the chief executive who is standing down in January.

The announcement of Scardino’s departure last month led to immediate speculation the company could sell off the Financial Times.

Scardino is being replaced by John Fallon, the chief executive of Pearson's International Education division since 2008, and analysts have questioned whether the FT Group fits strategically given the parent company's focus on education.

Scardino once famously said that Pearson would sell the FT“over my dead body”.

Bloomberg reports that potential bidders may include “wealthy individuals from Russia, the Middle East or Asia, as well as Bloomberg LP [the parent company of Bloomberg]”.

News Corp, another company that has previously said to have shown interest in the paper (and publishes the rival Wall Street Journal) “may not bid due to regulatory concerns because it already owns the London-based Times newspaper”, according to Bloomberg.

Charles Goldsmith, a spokesman for Pearson, flatly denied the report:  “We have said many times that the FT is a valued and valuable part of Pearson.

“We are not in the habit of responding to rumours, speculation or reports about our portfolio, however this particular Bloomberg story is wrong.”

A Bloomberg spokeswoman told Reuters “we stand by our reporting”.

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