UK's Pearson Mulls French Business Daily Sale

21 June 2007

LONDON: UK media and publishing group Pearson, owner of the The Financial Times, is mulling the sale of its French business daily, Les Echos, for as much as £170 million ($340.6m; €253.7m).

Pearson, which has been linked to a possible bid for US financial and business publisher Dow Jones, says it is looking at "strategic options" for Groupe Les Echos, which also publishes a business magazine. The unit had sales of €126m in 2006 and €10m in operating profits.

Pearson says it is examining whether a sale would "create value for . . . shareholders and enable Les Echos editorial independence to continue and its people to prosper under a new owner".

However, journalists at the title went on strike Tuesday over concerns that it could be bought by Bernard Arnault, head of luxury brands group LVMH. They fear such a move would damage the paper's credibility and journalistic integrity.

Other potential buyers include French media and defence conglomerate Lagardère.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff