Pearson sells stake in The Economist, exits news publishing business

Pearson has agreed to sell its 50% stake in The Economist Group for £469 million, payable in cash.

The decision came two weeks after it announced its intention to sell its stake.

EXOR S.p.A., an Italian-based investment company controlled by the Agnelli family, will purchase 27.8% of The Economist Group’s ordinary shares for consideration of £227.5 million and all of the B special shares for consideration of £59.5 million from Pearson. The Agnellis' stake in The Economist Group currently stands at 4.72%.

Pearson’s remaining ordinary shares will be repurchased by The Economist Group for a total consideration of £182 million.

The transaction is subject to a number of regulatory approvals and to approval by both a 75% majority of The Economist Group shareholders and the group’s independent trustees.

The proceeds will be used by Pearson for general corporate purposes and investment in its global education strategy.

Just last month, Pearson sold its stake in the Financial Times to Japanese digital media group Nikkei for £844 million. The latest transaction concludes Pearson's exit from the news publishing business.

John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said: "Pearson is now 100% focused on our global education strategy. The world of education is changing rapidly and we see great opportunity to grow our business through increasing access to high quality learning globally.”

The Economist Group owns The Economist newspaper,, the Economist Intelligence Unit, CQ Roll Call and TVC – a marketing agency based in London.