Pearson puts Merger Market up for sale

The Financial Times' owner Pearson put its Merger Market business up for sale yesterday, saying it did not fit the group's focus on education and learning, but reiterated it will not sell the flagship newspaper.

The chief executive, John Fallon, said Pearson has received no approach for Merger Market, which provides forward-looking intelligence on merger and acquisition activity and has annual sales of £100m. JPMorgan Cazenove is handling the sale. Mr Fallon said Merger Market was a "good, profitable business" but "it has nothing to do with the rest of Pearson, which is about helping people progress with their lives".

This is just the latest disposal from within Pearson's FT Group division.

However, Mr Fallon said it "does not change anything" about Pearson's commitment to the FT or its 50 per cent stake in The Economist. "There have been no discussions about selling the FT. There have been no approaches." Content revenues from cover price and digital subscriptions exceeded advertising for the first time at the FT in the first half of this year. Underlying sales rose 2 per cent at £2.8bn and the dividend was up 7 per cent.

Pearson slumped to a pre-tax loss of £4m as it ran up £37m of restructuring charges after it merged its publisher Penguin with Random House.

The group declined to reveal how many jobs have been axed, but said it would swing to a big profit in the second half.

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