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After much speculation, the Financial Times will be sold to Nikkei Inc.

The distinctive pinksheet has been sold to the Japanese media giant.

FT owners considering selling Source: John Stillwell

Updated: 11.34 pm

JAPANESE MEDIA COMPANY Nikkei Inc. is buying the Financial Times as part of an £844 million (€1.2 billion) deal with Britain’s Pearson PLC.

The deal announced today is part of Nikkei’s strategy to boost its global reach and also allows Pearson to concentrate on its core global education business.

The announcement followed rife speculation throughout the day.

This morning Pearson PLC claimed “there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction,” and said the announcement would be made “if and when appropriate.”

The price exceeds the €1 billion that had been estimated.

The Guardian had cited Axel Springer, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg as news agencies who might swoop in, or potentially a billionaire who wants to own a prestigious brand like FT.

Reuters has described the buyer as a “global digital news company”.

Pearson, which counts educational products and services as its core business, acquired the Financial Times in 1957.

The company is an international leader in educational publishing and is believed to want to focus more into that sector.

As part of the deal, Pearson has agreed to sell the vast majority of the assets in FT Group, including the Financial Times newspaper and the popular FT.com.

However, Pearson will retain its 50% stake in The Economist Group as well as the FT’s London headquarters on the banks of the Thames River.

The sale of the Financial Times has been rumored for some time but the identity of its potential buyer proved something of a surprise. The paper has always been British-owned.

“Nikkei had not been viewed as one of the primary contenders,” said Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG.

Nikkei Chairman and CEO Tsuneo Kita says he is “extremely proud” to team with the FT.

Our motto of providing high-quality reporting on economic and other news, while maintaining fairness and impartiality, is very close to that of the FT.

We share the same journalistic values.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close before the end of the year.

Pearson’s share price was up 2.5% in late-morning trading in London. The group is due to publish half-year results on Friday.

PastedImage-43991 Source: Screengrab via Google/Yahoo Finance

Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan and Dan Mac Guill

Originally published: 12.37 pm

Read: The government doesn’t want one person owning the Irish media >

More: Ireland has made the front page of the Financial Times again… >

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