Pearson sells Economist Group stake

Publishing group Pearson says it has agreed to sell its 50% stake in the Economist Group for £469m.

Exor, the holding group of the Agnelli family, has agreed to buy most of Pearson’s shares in the group.

The move comes after Pearson sold the Financial Times and announced it would be focusing on its educational operations.

The Economist Group includes the Economist newspaper and the Economist Intelligence Unit analysis company.

Pearson chief executive John Fallon said: “Pearson is proud to have been a part of the Economist’s success over the past 58 years, and our shareholders have benefited greatly from its growth.

“Pearson is now 100% focused on our global education strategy.”

The company said that Exor had agreed to buy 27.8% of the Economist Group’s ordinary shares for £227.5m, and B-shares for £59.5m.

The remaining shares will be repurchased by the Economist Group for £182m, Pearson said.

Exor already holds a 4% stake in the Economist Group. Exor’s chief executive, John Elkann, said: “By increasing our investment in the Economist we are delighted to affirm our role as one of the group’s long-term supportive shareholders, along with the Cadbury, Layton, Rothschild and Schroder families and other individual stable investors.”

The sale is expected to happen at the end of 2015, subject to the approval of the Economist Group’s shareholders, Exor added.