Pearson seen weighing FT offers; company denies report

Wed Nov 7, 2012 6:39am IST

An edition of the Financial Times Deutschland (Germany) is seen at a shop in Frankfurt August 28, 2012. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files

An edition of the Financial Times Deutschland (Germany) is seen at a shop in Frankfurt August 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files

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REUTERS - Pearson Plc has decided to consider offers for the Financial Times newspaper this year and may seek at least $1 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the situation.

Pearson denied the report. "We have said many times that the FT is a valued and valuable part of Pearson," a company spokesman said. "We are not in the habit of responding to rumors, speculation or reports about our portfolio; however, this particular Bloomberg story is wrong."

A Bloomberg spokeswoman said "we stand by our reporting."

Pearson may initiate the sale preparations ahead of the departure of Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino, Bloomberg reported.

Scardino said last month she would step down at the end of the year, a move that could clear the way for the global education and media group to sell the newspaper.

Scardino, the first female CEO of an FTSE 100 company, had previously declared that the famous pink-paged FT title would be sold "over my dead body."

Potential bidders may include wealthy individuals from Russia, the Middle East or Asia, Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters have also been named as possible suitors. A Thomson Reuters spokesman declined to comment.

Pearson has not hired an investment bank, Bloomberg said.

Shares of Pearson closed flat at 1240 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday. (Reporting by Kate Holton in London and Neha Alawadhi in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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