HONG KONG: British publisher Pearson on Friday denied a report that media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Abu Dhabi’s state media group are in talks to acquire The Financial Times Group for about $1.2 billion.
The Edge Review, a regional political and business digital magazine based in Malaysia, said that the talks had been progressing for more than a month with Pearson, the London-based publishing and education giant.
Such a move would see Murdoch add the respected Financial Times name as well as 50 percent of the Economist magazine to his vast empire, which includes The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones.
The Edge Review cited financial executives familiar with the negotiations, saying that a decision could be finalized as early as next week.
However, a Pearson spokesman told Agence France-Presse that “The Financial Times [FT] is not for sale, and Pearson is not in any talks to sell it”, adding that the FT remained an “important” part of Pearson’s strategy.
The report said that financing details and shareholding structure of a new company that would own the FT group were being worked out, and that as well as the FT and Economist the deal also included several high-end financial information services.
An executive familiar with the talks was cited by the Edge Review as saying the Abu Dhabi Media Group was expected to control roughly 75 percent of the venture, with Murdoch picking up the balance.
Murdoch was also negotiating to buy another 25 percent stake at a later date, it said.