Speculation that The Financial Times may be up for sale has resurfaced. Pearson PLC, the London-based publisher that owns the business newspaper, has received “interest from potential buyers,” Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed sources.
While there is no formal process under way, The Financial Times may draw interest from media companies such as Axel Springer SE as well as investors in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the sources said.
A sale may value “the business at as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion),” the report said. In comparison, The New York Times Co.’s market capitalization is about $2.2 billion as of Monday.
The American depositary receipts of Pearson fell 1.2% Monday on the New York Stock Exchange to $19.55.
“We have a long-standing policy of never commenting on market rumours about our portfolio,” Pearson said in a statement.
Pearson shares rose more than 5% intraday before closing 1.6% lower. The company has a market value of about 10.3 billion pounds.
First published in 1888 as a four-page newspaper, the FT’s circulation reached 720,000 last year, with digital subscriptions accounting for 70 percent of the total. In a move to make more money from online readers, the newspaper in February tweaked its paywall system, moving away from a metered model that allows readers to view a few free articles every month before requiring them to pay.
Last November, Chief Financial Officer Robin Freestone said a sale of the FT wasn’t top priority for Pearson.