The transaction is subject to a number of regulatory approvals and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015.
The company has been gradually moving away from broad-based publishing in recent years to focus on its education businesses.
“We share the same journalistic values”, said Tsuneo Kita, Mikkei’s chairman and CEO. “The new education products and services we’re developing which will enable far more people of all ages to discover the joy of learning and progress in their careers”.
Nikkei, a diversified media group centered on its Japanese flagship newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun, marks its 140th anniversary next year. The FT Group had 2014 revenue of 334 million pounds and 24 million pounds in adjusted operating profit. With Nikkei’s experience in running journalistic publications, Pearson expects the group to “continue to flourish” under its new ownership.
FT chief executive John Fallon told reporters he believed that, like Pearson, the new owner had a commitment to the “fairness and accuracy of its reporting, and to the integrity and independence of its journalism”.
The FT has seen its circulation across print and digital rise more than 30% over the last five years to 737,000, with digital circulation growing to represent 70% of the total and mobile driving nearly half of all traffic. On Thursday, it said in a short statement it would not purchase the FT Group.
It prompted a denial from the conglomerate, which owns newspapers Bild and Die Welt, shortly before the announcement on Nikkei.
Chaired by senior journalists from the Financial Times Group, FT Live’s summits, conferences, awards and strategic forums gather the world’s most influential decision-makers. The price Nikkei is to pay, at about 2.5 times sales, is high compared to the valuation of News Corp (NWSA), a media competitor that trades at about 0.8 times sales.
The Nikkei, Japan’s biggest business newspaper with 3.12 million subscribers, is the most widely read media outlet for the country’s chief executives.