Pearson in $114m windfall from CBS MarketWatch sale

Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times, is set to pocket $114m (£59m) from the planned sale of CBS MarketWatch, a US financial news website.

The British company has a 22 per cent stake in MarketWatch and is considering a $519m offer for the business from Dow Jones.

Analysts said they had not yet factored in the exceptional profit to be booked on the disposal. Some were only vaguely aware of the stake's existence. Simon Baker, an analyst at SG Securities, said: "It's a stonking price to have achieved for a business that had fallen below the radar screen."

MarketWatch was a legacy from the days of fever, when Pearson, along with other media groups, invested in building up its online presence.

Investors have been stunned at the price that Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was ready to pay for the website. Dow Jones faced competition for the business, which had been put up for sale, from Viacom, Yahoo! and The New York Times Company.

Dow Jones has offered to pay $18 a share. Last year MarketWatch, which is listed in the US, made a net profit of $2.7m on earnings of 14 cents a share. However, on announcing the proposed acquisition, Dow Jones insisted it would be earnings enhancing from 2006.

For Dow Jones, the deal also represents a change in internet strategy. So far the company has pursued a model of only charging for content, with the website of the Journal,, having more than 700,000 subscribers. MarketWatch's main websites are free and attract about 8 million users a month. Dow Jones has said that it aims to keep MarketWatch's identity as a market-driven news site aimed largely at individual investors.

Pearson has pursued a hybrid strategy with the website of its Financial Times newspaper,, with basic content available free, but the archive and other features requiring a subscription.

A spokeswoman for Pearson said she could not disclose the value that the MarketWatch stake is held at in the company's books. Pearson ended up with the MarketWatch stake through a deal struck in 1999, when it combined its asset valuation business with Data Broadcasting Corporation, which had a holding in MarketWatch.

Shares in MarketWatch climbed as high as $130 in 1999 and sank as low as $1.06 in 2001.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own