British publication and education company Pearson has confirmed that it is in talks to sell its 50% stake in weekly newspaper The Economist.
In a statement on its site, a Pearson spokesperson said: “Pearson confirms it is in discussions with The Economist Group Board and trustees regarding the potential sale of our 50% share in the Group. There is no certainty that this process will lead to a transaction.”
The news came in just days after Pearson sold its flagship business newspaper Financial Times to Japanese digital media group Nikkei for £844 million.
Turning its focus on global education strategy, it is now in talks to sell its stake in The Economist to current shareholders, with one, Italy’s Agnelli family(which owns Fiat), confirming it wants to increase its stake in the publication which currently stands at 4.72%.
In addition to the Agnellis, owners of The Economist include other European dynasties such as the Cadbury, Rothschild and Schroder families.
The share capital of The Economist Newspaper Limited, The Economist Group’s parent company, is divided into ordinary shares, “A” special shares, “B” special shares and trust shares.
The “B” special shares are all held by Pearson, which holds 50% of the total share capital of the company excluding the trust shares, according to The Economist Group.
Approval is needed from the trustees for certain corporate activities, including the transfer of “A” special and “B” special shares. The trustees are tasked with preserving the continued independence of the ownership of the company and the editorial independence of The Economist.
Recently this month, The Economist launched a campaign in Singapore with high-end coffee Kopi Luwak, in a bid to attract readers and subscribers to the magazine.