Japanese media group Nikkei has agreed to buy the Financial Times from Britain's Pearson (PSON.L) for $1.3 billion, putting one of the world's premier business newspapers in the hands of a company influential at home but little known outside Japan.
The deal, struck after Nikkei beat Germany's Axel Springer (SPRGn.DE) to the prize, marks the biggest acquisition by a Japanese media organization and is a coup for the employee-owned firm which lends its name to the main Japanese stock market index.
In the Financial Times it has acquired an authoritative global newspaper that commands strong loyalty from its readers and has coped better than others with the shift to online publishing. It was one of the first newspapers to successfully charge for access to its website.
Reporters at the paper told Reuters there was some apprehension, as they knew very little about their new owner, but there was also relief they had not been bought by Bloomberg - another potential buyer - which could have resulted in duplication of staff roles and more potential job cuts.
Chief Executive John Fallon told reporters he believed that like Pearson, the new owner had a commitment to the "fairness and accuracy of its reporting, and to the integrity and independence of its journalism".
Pearson still has 50% of The Economist and 47% of Penguin Random House.
Here's their public strategy around the sale:
Pearson will now be 100% focused on our global education strategy. The world of education is changing profoundly and we see huge opportunity to grow our business through increasing access to high quality education globally.
Interesting that they see this "huge opportunity" to grow the business as the anger and hostility many parents and educators feel toward Pearson has been growing to a crescendo.