Market Report: Rumours of FT sale for Pearson resurface


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The Independent Online

Reports that Pearson might sell the Financial Times have resurfaced almost three years after a potential deal was first whispered.

The company is exploring a sale of the financial newspaper after approaches from potential buyers, according to Bloomberg, which suggested German newspaper publisher Axel Springer’s name may be in the frame.

Pearson started lower, then spiked on the report before retreating again to finish down 20p at 1,255p.

Talk of a sale first emerged three years ago, following the departure of long-serving boss Dame Marjorie Scardino as the company looked to focus on its fast-growing education business.

The £1bn price tag being touted this time round is the same as that which Bloomberg suggested Pearson was holding out for in 2012.

Analysts suggested the speculation was nothing new, while one media expert said “it could be true this time”.

It was a quiet start to the week for European stock markets, with the FTSE 100 edging up 13.61 points to 6,788.69.

“Until Thursday’s retail sales figures, the UK index has very little to play with this week, so will likely be dependent on the movements surrounding Greece and any changes in the commodity sector,” Spreadex’s Connor Campbell said.

Sports Direct was the Footsie’s best performing share, up 25.5p at 772.5p after Exane BNP Paribas lifted its target price to 860p.

The broker said it values the budget sportswear retailer at a 5 per cent premium to the sector, with potential European expansion cited as one of the reasons to buy the stock.

Mike Ashley’s retail giant was also praised by RBC Capital, whose analysts raised their target price to 850p.

On AIM, pharmaceutical services firm Ergomed dropped 6.5p to 176p after its founder and chief executive Miroslav Reljanovic cashed in on the recent share price rise by selling shares worth £6.73m.

Dr Reljanovic remains the majority shareholder, with just under 60 per cent of the company.