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Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
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    Commentators question whether FT’s editorial independence can be assured

    Why has Nikkei bought the Financial Times? What’s the logic of the Japanese media company’s very expensive acquisition? Business commentators, while acknowledging the financial sense in Pearson’s sell-off, appear concerned about the FT’s editorial independence in future.

    As far as the FT’s own Tokyo-based writers, Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis, are concerned, it’s all about international expansion, “an attempt to turn a heavily domestic name into a global brand and survive the shift to digital journalism.”

    “Nor would readers of Nikkei be acutely aware that Japanese-made airbags have been blowing up in the US since 2004, a story that has long preoccupied the New York Times.

    Mainstream Japanese journalism is not corrupt, but it is respectful, like the culture around it. Anglo-Saxon journalistic traditions are not, at their best, respectful of anything.

    “We all wish the 500 FT journalists the very best as they enter a new era... One trusts that a great British product will not be stifled by the deeply unadventurous hand of Japanese publishers.”

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    FT Group chief executive John Ridding says paper will also look to hire more staff following its acquisition by Japanese media group Nikkei

    The Financial Times will begin looking for a replacement for its Thames-side London offices in the new year and look to hire more staff following its acquisition by Japanese media group Nikkei.

    The offices were not included in the £844m sale of the FT by Pearson, which is to lease the building back at commercial terms to Nikkei.

    Related: Financial Times sold to Japanese media group Nikkei for £844m

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    Letter to the FT by Daily Mail group director on the difference between business ownership based on ‘long term value’ and the need to make quick profits

    A short letter in Wednesday’s Financial Times makes for fascinating reading. Stimulated by Pearson’s sale of the FT to Nikkei, it poses profound questions about the nature of modern capitalism:

    Sir, The biggest mistake Pearson has made in the past 25 years occurred in the early 1990s when the representatives of the original owners retired.

    Pearson then owned a collection of the finest assets in the world — besides the Financial Times, there was Chateau Latour, Lazards, Madame Tussauds, Penguin and Longman.

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    Existing shareholder Exor increases its holding from 4.7% to 43.4% to become the largest single shareholder in the publishing group

    Pearson has sold its 50% stake in the Economist Group, publisher of the Economist, to existing shareholders for £469m in cash.

    The deal, a fait accompli following Pearson’s sale of the Financial Times to Nikkei for £844m last month, will see a major change in the power structure of the major shareholders that control the Economist Group.

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    Italy’s Agnellis are the latest wealthy dynasty – in the wake of the Murdochs, the Barclays and the Sulzbergers – to take control of a global media brand

    Rupert Pennant-Rea sat pensively in the 14th floor boardroom above London’s upmarket St James’s and soaked up the grand views across Green Park. Colleagues greeted him warmly as they shuffled into the room. As chairman and a former editor of the Economist, Pennant-Rea was acutely aware of just what a momentous decision his board was about to take.

    It was last Monday evening and the magazine and research group was poised to agree to support a deal that would result in only the second significant change of ownership in the Economist’s 172-year history.

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    The eye-popping sum paid by the Agnellis and Rothschilds shows how much the rich value high-quality private assets that will make long-term profits

    No self-respecting brand manager would ever name a newspaper the Economist. You might as well name it “dry and boring eat-your-greens stuff which you probably won’t even understand”.

    And yet, improbably, the Economist is today worth an eye-popping £938m ($1.5bn). That’s six times the value of the Washington Post, which comes out seven days a week and which has must-read status in the most important political capital in the world. It’s even more than the £844m ($1.3bn) that Nikkei Group paid for the Financial Times.

    Related: Pearson sells Economist Group stake for £469m

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    Education publisher, which is in the process of selling off the Financial Times, blames ‘challenging’ market as it suffers biggest share price fall since 1987

    Pearson suffered its biggest share slump in decades on Wednesday as the education publisher’s stock price crashed almost 16% after issuing a full-year profits warning.

    Pearson, which is in the process of selling off the Financial Times and its stake in the Economist, saw its biggest share price fall since the stock market crash of 1987.

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    Former chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to take over from Glen Moreno at global education company

    Pearson has appointed Sidney Taurel, the former chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, as its new chairman.

    Taurel, who is also a board director at IBM and McGraw Hill Financial, will takeover as non-executive chairman of the parent of the Financial Times on 1 January.

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    Sale marks end of an era for former FT owner as it exits newspaper publishing business after selling its stake to Russian entrepreneur

    Pearson, which recently agreed to offload the Financial Times, and the publisher of the Wall Street Journal have sold off their stakes in Russian business newspaper Vedomosti.

    For Pearson the sale represents its final move out of newspaper publishing, having already sold its 50% stake in the Economist and just weeks from completing a deal for Nikkei to takeover the FT, although it still owns a minority stake in book publisher Penguin Random House.

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    World’s biggest education publisher aims to make £350m in cost savings by the end of 2017

    Pearson is to cut 4,000 jobs after issuing its second profit warning in three months.

    The world’s biggest education publisher said it aimed for annual savings of £350m by the end of 2017 and it would end its long-held policy of increasing its dividend each year.

    Related: Pearson shares slide after profits warning

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    Zanny Minton Beddoes on new owners, battling Brexit, and making a 173-year-old title work online

    Zanny Minton Beddoes’ office may have a worn and old-fashioned feel, indeed it wouldn’t be surprising if it turned out it hasn’t had a makeover since the Economist’s arrival in 1964, but she couldn’t be more focused on the shiny digital future.

    “We don’t want to be the grandpa at the disco,” says Minton Beddoes, the first female editor in the business magazine’s 173-year history. “The bedrock of this place is the weekly Economist but in the 21st century that is no longer enough.”

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    Magazine plans to move next summer to a London headquarters, overlooking the Thames, that meets ‘the needs of a 21st century media company’

    The Economist has chosen its new home. It is to move next year into the Adelphi Building on London’s Victoria Embankment.

    Zanny Minton Beddoes, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, points out that the new headquarters will be “just steps from where The Economist’s first offices were in 1843.”

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    Challenging trading conditions continue to knock world’s largest educational publisher

    The full extent of the difficulties Pearson is facing following the sale of the Financial Times to focus on education has been laid bare, as jittery investors sent its share price tumbling 10% after the company reported worse than expected sales.

    Pearson’s chief executive, John Fallon, sold the FT in 2015, as well as its 50% stake in the publisher of the Economist, for more than £1.3bn to focus on Pearson’s educational publishing business.

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    Management have moved to reassure staff and writers that selling the 47% holding will not affect business, but authors and agents express unease

    Authors and staff have reacted cautiously to news that Pearson is to sell its stake in Penguin Random House (PRH), the world’s biggest publisher and home to some of the most successful brands in books, among them Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Oliver and The Girl on the Train.

    PRH moved quickly to address fears among staff that the sale of the 47% share to German-owned Bertelsmann would affect jobs. In a statement, global chief executive Markus Dohle promised it would be “business as usual for us”. He added: “Both Pearson and Bertelsmann continue to be very supportive of our strategy and our success, and both have been valued shareholders for us.”

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    Pre-tax losses soar to £2.6bn as group – planning to sell its Penguin Random House stake – is hit by slump in US textbook sales

    Pearson has reported a pre-tax loss of £2.6bn for 2016, the biggest in its history, after a slump at its US education operation.

    The world’s largest education publisher, which in January saw almost £2bn wiped from its stock market value after issuing its fifth profit warning in two years, reported the record loss after taking a £2.55bn non-cash charge for “impairment of goodwill reflecting trading pressures” in its North American businesses.

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    Investors’ revolt against deal for John Fallon comes after educational publisher reports largest annual loss in its history

    More than six out of 10 Pearson shareholders have voted against the £1.5m pay package awarded to the embattled chief executive, John Fallon, after the educational publisher reported the largest annual loss in its history.

    Fallon received a 20% pay rise last year, including a bonus of £343,000, despite the company recording a record loss of £2.6bn.

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    Further pure maths and statistics tests affected as police open criminal investigation into claims relating to other exams this summer

    An examination board investigating allegations of leaks has been forced to make last-minute changes to two A-level papers that were taken on Monday after another apparent breach of security.

    Pearson, which owns the Edexcel exam board, said it had replaced questions in its statistics and further pure maths papers after the board was informed that some students “had information they should not have had”. It also confirmed that police had opened a criminal investigation into earlier allegations of malpractice relating to an A-level maths paper.

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    The beleaguered FTSE 100 firm strengthens balance sheet by selling a 22% stake to Bertelsmann in deal valuing the publishing giant at $3.55bn

    Pearson has sold a 22% stake in Penguin Random House, the world’s biggest publisher, with titles ranging from Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Oliver and The Girl on the Train. The deal values Penguin at $3.55bn (£2.75bn).

    Pearson put its holding in PRH up for sale in January after issuing a string of profit warnings in its educational publishing business, and has sold the stake to partner Bertelsmann.

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    The education business sold nearly half its stake in the publisher to Bertelsmann, but much of the proceeds will be reinvested

    Pearson is still going to own a quarter of Penguin Random House, so it’s not too late to hope that it can learn to tell a story like it is. Please, drop this bland corporate talk about “rebasing” the dividend. The cut in the offering is from 52p to 17p a share, or thereabouts, which is too severe to dress in neutral language. Pearson’s status as an investment one might wish to own for income is about to be obliterated.

    The shame is that Pearson’s sale of a 22% stake in PRH has been secured on terms that look respectable, at least in circumstances where there was only one possible buyer – German media group Bertelsmann, which owns 53% to Pearson’s current 47%. Pearson will collect $1bn (£778m) in cash, via a combination of the sale of the stake and a dividend, in a transaction that values PRH at about seven times its top-line earnings. That valuation feels roughly right, which is why Pearson’s shares initially rose.

    Related: Pearson sells slice of Penguin for $1bn

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    Cost-cutting move aims to save educational publisher about £300m a year with 10% cut in global staff after biggest loss in history in 2016

    Pearson is to cut 3,000 jobs as the embattled company looks to slash costs after a slump at its US higher education business.

    The world’s largest education company, which has issued five profit warnings in the past four years, intends to axe about 10% of its 32,000 global workforce by the end of 2019.

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