New Pearson chief pulls out of Mid-East bid

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The Independent Online

The new boss of Pearson has overturned his predecessor's push to buy a prestigious Middle East-focused data and news service as he puts his stamp on the Financial Times owner.

Dame Marjorie Scardino was mulling a bid to buy from trade publisher Top Right Group the Middle East Economic Digest, which broke details of US reconstruction plans for Iraq when tanks were rolling into Baghdad in 2003. However, John Fallon, who formally took over Pearson last week, decided Top Right wanted too much. Top Right, previously known as Emap and owned by Apax and Guardian Media Group, was reportedly looking for £35m, though there are suggestions Dame Marjorie might have paid more.

Top Right is believed to have canned a sale process, run by investment bank Jefferies, as it considers MEED a strong business that need not be sold on the cheap.