Summary:

Pearson (NYSE: PSO) is to sell its 50% stake in the FTSE International group to the London Stock Exchange for £450 million ($700 million) i…

Marjorie Scardino
photo: Pearson

Pearson (NYSE: PSO) is to sell its 50% stake in the FTSE International group to the London Stock Exchange for £450 million ($700 million) in cash.

The company, owner of the Financial Times and book publisher Penguin, said the sale was part of a shift away from financial data and towards news and analysis.

“FTSE is a bellwether of global financial markets and a world-class business,” said Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson. “We have enjoyed supporting the company’s excellent and highly professional team to build the business. Proud as we are of that long association, FTSE’s strategy is different from our own. We wish it every success as we continue to build our digital business information services around the Financial Times.”

Pearson said that the deal will enable it to continue to make targeted acquisitions and expand further into non-English language markets.

“For Pearson, the transaction further strengthens our financial position at a time of significant macroeconomic turbulenc,” said Scardino. “We are freeing up capital for continued investment in a proven strategy: becoming more digital, more international and more service-oriented in education, business information and consumer publishing.”

Pearson has made a series of acquisitions in the learning market in recent months, including the English-language test company Global Education and Technology Group (GETG) for $294m (£188m) in November.

The publishing group has gradually withdrawn its stake in financial data firms, most notably its 61% stake in Interactive Data Corporation for $2bn in May last year.

In 2010, FTSE reported total revenues of almost £100m and total core earnings of £40m. At 31 December 2010, it had gross assets of £100.8m.

Pearson and London Stock Exchange Group currently own 50% each of FTSE. The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2012.

Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, said: “Fully aligning FTSE with one of the world’s most liquid and most international trading groups is an exciting opportunity.

“Immediately earnings enhancing, we expect this transaction to create long-term value and growth for our customers and shareholders.”

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.

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