Pearson set to splash out again but 'Financial Times is safe'

Dame Marjorie Scardino, the head of Pearson, has again scotched stories that the Financial Times could be sold as she earmarked another £1bn for acquisitions to drive the education group's international expansion.

Pearson, which also owns the books publisher Penguin and Edexcel, Britain's main exams-testing body, spent £900m last year as it began to recycle proceeds from the sale of its stakes in the data provider IDC and the FTSE indices business.

The money went on testing, technology and work-training firms in China, the US and Britain.

Pearson reported an underlying operating profit up 12 per cent to £942m. Sales rose 6 per cent to £5.9bn. Penguin's ebook revenues more than doubled.

Digital FT subscriptions rose by 29 per cent to 267,000, making up 44 per cent of the newspaper's paid circulation.

The dividend has been lifted 9 per cent to 42p.

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