Pearson has confirmed it is in talks to sell its 50% stake in The Economist Group, just days after the sale of the Financial Times to Japanese publisher Nikkei.
In a statement on its website, the company 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.”
Italian investment company Exor confirmed that it is “in discussion” with Pearson over increasing its stake in The Economist, though it insisted it would wish to remain a “minority” shareholder to help ensure “editorial independence”.
The remaining shares in The Economist include dynastic investors such as Cadbury, Rothschild and Schroder.
It comes as UK-based Pearson looks to exit the publishing world, and focus on its education businesses in North America and emerging markets like Brazil and China.
The £844m ($1.3bn) sale of the FT included the group’s flagship newspaper and sub-brands FT.com, The Banker, Investors Chronicle and How to Spend It.
John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said: “Pearson has been a proud proprietor of the FT for nearly 60 years. But we’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social. In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.
“Pearson will now be 100% focused on our global education strategy. The world of education is changing profoundly and we see huge opportunity to grow our business through increasing access to high quality education globally.”