Media and education conglomerate Pearson has sold the Financial Times to Japan's biggest media firm, Nikkei, for £844m. Nikkei is best known here for publishing the Japanese Nikkei stockmarket index. Person also owns 50% of The Economist, which it plans to sell too.
What the commentators said
What does Nikkei get out of it? It is paying up to secure "the somewhat distant future", said Rob Cox, also on Breakingviews. In the next 40 years, the Japanese population is expected to fall by 30%. Nikkei is "fully invested in and exposed to this shrinking market".
It dominates the market with three million print readers a day. It has "no obvious route to the global marketplace" that would allow it to compensate for this decline. Add in the fact that local young people are abandoning print, said The Guardian, and it makes sense for Nikkei to spend money on "one of the few really successful global digital brands".
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The FT has certainly done well, said Nils Pratley in The Guardian, but it also appears to be a "wasted opportunity". The brand cachet has never been stronger and the journalistic output is excellent.It could have been "a financial publishing powerhouse capable of challenging the likes of Bloomberg". It has suffered from a lack of investment and ambition.
Taking the easy way out selling, rather than nurturing is a "fundamental malaise" in our economy, concluded the Evening Standard's Anthony Hilton. We seem to lack the imagination or the will to develop things for ourselves.
Andrew is the editor of MoneyWeek magazine. He grew up in Vienna and studied at the University of St Andrews, where he gained a first-class MA in geography & international relations.
After graduating he began to contribute to the foreign page of The Week and soon afterwards joined MoneyWeek at its inception in October 2000. He helped Merryn Somerset Webb establish it as Britain’s best-selling financial magazine, contributing to every section of the publication and specialising in macroeconomics and stockmarkets, before going part-time.
His freelance projects have included a 2009 relaunch of The Pharma Letter, where he covered corporate news and political developments in the German pharmaceuticals market for two years, and a multiyear stint as deputy editor of the Barclays account at Redwood, a marketing agency.
Andrew has been editing MoneyWeek since 2018, and continues to specialise in investment and news in German-speaking countries owing to his fluent command of the language.
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