FT Business auction thrown open

Pearson has ended exclusive talks with FT chief executive Stephen Hill about the sale of its FT Business unit.

The race to acquire Pearson’s financial magazine division FT Business has recommenced following news that exclusive talks between Hill and Pearson have ended.

News of exclusive talks between Pearson and the Permira-Stephen Hill team emerged in early April, with reports suggesting that an offer would be made for FT Business in the region of £75m. However the period of exclusivity expired without definitive agreement being reached and Pearson have reopened talks with other bidders.

It is thought that Emap, Incisive Media and Informa Group are among the other bidders, as well as UK private equity firm HG Capital, and Daily Mail and General Trust. It is understood that Permira and Stephen Hill will continue negotiations with Pearson regarding the purchase.

Stephen Hill announced in late February that he would temporarily step down from his position as chief executive of the Financial Times to pursue a bid for FT Business. Pearson is being advised by Lazard on the sale of the division, which comprises titles including Investor's Chronicle, Financial Adviser and Money Management.