The British company Pearson announced Wednesday it is selling its 50 percent stake in the company that owns The Economist magazine to the group’s other shareholders for about $730 million. The move comes a month after the education company sold the Financial Times to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper for $1.3 billion.
Pearson’s stake is being bought, in part, by Italian company Exor—the holding company of the Agnelli family, founders of Italian carmaker Fiat. Exor will pay about $446 million for the group’s shares, increasing its stake from 4.7 percent to 43.4 percent, the Italian company said.
The rest of Pearson’s stake will be bought by the Economist Group for $284.7 million.
Pearson’s sale of The Economist allows it to focus on its educational properties, though it still holds a 47 percent stake in Penguin Random House, the publishing firm.
In a statement announcing the sale, John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said the company “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.”
Rupert Pennant-Rea, the chairman of The Economist Group, said in a separate statement that with Pearson’s decision to sell, “the board’s priority was to secure the independence of the ownership of the Group and the continued editorial independence of The Economist.”