Pearson to start business paper in Germany

PEARSON AND Bertelsmann, the media giants, yesterday confirmed that they are planning to launch a new German language business newspaper in an attempt to break into the German market.

The two companies are thought to be preparing to spend about pounds 60m over the next three years, by which time they envisage that the paper will be breaking even.

The paper, which is likely to be launched next year, will be printed on the same pink paper as the Financial Times, the business daily owned by Pearson, and will carry the FT brand.

Gruner + Jahr, Bertelsmann's newspaper and magazines division, will supply printing and marketing operations for the paper, which will be based in Frankfurt, Germany's financial centre.

However, the paper will have its own staff with Andrew Gowers, formerly the FT's deputy editor, taking the editor's chair. Mr Gowers is now recruiting journalists to work on the paper. The paper is likely to have an editorial staff of between 80 and 100.

The move is a new step for Pearson, which is in the middle of a pounds 50m investment programme aimed at improving the FT's circulation in the US. The investment has helped lift sales in North America to over 70,000.

Although the FT has a respectable circulation in Europe, sales in Germany have always been low and dominated by a bulk distribution deal with Lufthansa, the German national airline. The country currently boasts two German-language daily business titles - Handelsblatt and Boersen Zeitung - while regional titles such as Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitug and Die Welt also have extensive business coverage.

The new German title will complement the FT Group's business papers in France and Spain. "The success of Les Echos in France and Expansion in Spain encourages us to believe we can build a profitable and successful German language business newspaper in the world's third largest economy," said Stephen Hill, the FT Group's chief executive, who will also be chairman of the new venture.