Sale talk dogs Pearson

PEARSON, the media-to-banking conglomerate, is expected to report poor annual results tomorrow, but the market is likely to focus on any news about demerger plans or the sale of assets.

The company is widely considered in the City to be "in play" after it emerged recently that television and leisure group Granada was prepared last year to pay pounds 9 per share - a total of pounds 5bn - for the owner of the Financial Times, Penguin Books and Lazards merchant bank.

That approach, which neither company has confirmed, is understood to have accelerated moves by Pearson to become a more focused media group to preserve its independence.

On Friday, Pearson confirmed the appointment of three new board members designed to beef up the management team. Former FT newspaper managing director John Makinson will replace James Joll as finance director from 1 April. Greg Dyke, head of Pearson's TV interests, and David Bell, chief executive of the Financial Times group, are also joining the board.

Demerger rumours have centered on a possible spin-off of the rapidly expanding TV side.