International media group Pearson has decided to abandon the sale of its business magazines publishing division FT Business due to an unwillingness from potential suitors to meet the asking price.
Pearson announced in February that it was to dispose of FT Business, which publishes retail, personal and institutional finance magazines including Investors Chronicle, The Banker, Money Management and Financial Adviser, with reports at the time suggesting that the division would be sold for around £80m.
Stephen Hill, FT Group chief executive, was seen as the likely buyer of the business, and stepped down from his position to lead a buyout of the firm alongside UK private equity firm Permira. However, despite early signs that a deal was likely, the talks between the two parties broke down in May.
Other firms thought to be interested in acquiring FT Business included Emap, Incisive Media and Informa Group, as well as UK private equity firm HG Capital, and Daily Mail and General Trust.
Lazard, the investment bank running the auction for Pearson, had been expected to announce news of a successful bid in June, although a failure to agree on a value deemed acceptable to both sides of the auction process seems to have scuppered the deal.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning, Pearson said that the firm had received ‘many expressions of interest in FT Business’ but had ‘now concluded that FT Business is worth more as part of the FT Group than potential bidders were prepared to pay’.