Pearson sells the Financial Times

Media and education conglomerate Pearson has sold the Financial Times to Japan’s biggest media firm, Nikkei, for £844m.

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".

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.

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