Fresh from the sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japan’s Nikkei, Pearson said it had agreed the sale of the Economist to Exor, a holding vehicle for the Agnelli family, and to other existing shareholders which include the Cadbury, Layton, Rothschild and Schroder families.
“We are convinced of the huge potential that still lies ahead and particularly in The Economist’s ability to seize the many development opportunities linked to the digitisation of the media industry,” John Elkann, the CEO of Exor.
Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker said the price was higher than was speculated, with analysts expecting an amount nearer to £400m. Exor said the sale would take its stake in the Economist to 43.4%, from 4.7%, for a price of £287m.
It added that, subject to a shareholder vote, the governance rules of The Economist would be amended to limit the voting powers of any single shareholder to 20%, and to ensure that no one individual or company can own more than 50% of the group’s shares.
Exor has been investing to diversify its portfolio away from the automotive business.