Financial Times owner Pearson agrees to offload stake in Economist for €659m
Britain's Pearson, fresh from agreeing the sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japan's Nikkei, has announced that it will sell its 50 percent stake in the Economist Group for £469m (€659m) to its existing investors.
Pearson said in a statement it had agreed to sell 27.8 percent of the Economist Group's shares to Exor, the holding of the Agnelli family, for £227.5m and all of the B special shares for £59.5m.
Pearson's remaining ordinary shares will be repurchased by The Economist Group for a total consideration of £182m.
The agreement comes after Pearson announced the sale of the Financial Times and related titles to Japanese business publisher Nikkei for £844m last month.
Exor, the holding of the Agnelli family, which is best known for its controlling stake in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is expected to build a stake of around 40pc in The Economist Group after completion of the deal from 4.72pc now, a source said.
The source said details of the deal were still being finalised, and it could take some time before Exor reaches the 40pc level.
The source added that Exor and the Rothschild family, which currently controls around 21pc of The Economist, were negotiating a governance agreement that would give them equal voting powers as leading shareholders of the group.
The Economist Group includes the highly regarded print and online editions of 'The Economist' magazine, research business the Economist Intelligence Unit and a number of smaller titles and conference businesses.
In 2014, The Economist Group contributed £21m to Pearson's operating income.