Pearson sells satellite stake

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The Independent Online
Pearson, the international media company, has sold its stake in SES, which owns the Astra satellite system, to an unnamed European investment company for pounds 160m.

Greg Dyke, Pearson's Television chairman and chief executive, said the deal was in line with Pearson's strategy of disposing of "passive broadcasting investments which do not offer any real advantage to our actively managed production and distribution businesses".

Pearson, which owns the Financial Times and the Economist, is spinning off minority stakes and expanding its television production unit, in pursuit of chief executive Marjorie Scardino's goal of doubling the company's value by 2002.

Analysts said Pearson's strategy raised the question of when it would sell its 4.3 per cent stake in British Sky Broadcasting.Pearson shares fell 5p to 820p yesterday. BSkyB's shares were unchanged at 372p.

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