Banks courting Financial Times deal

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Investment banks including Nomura and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are hoping to woo potential buyers for the Financial Times with a £1-billion deal, the Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

British publisher Pearson has repeatedly said that its flagship business newspaper was not for sale, and has denied appointing advisers to sell the publication.

But the banks are hoping the publisher will sell if they can present it with a deal that may also involve the group's holding in The Economist magazine, the Telegraph reported on its website.

The banks are believed to be courting offers of up to £1 billion ($1.6 billion, 1.2 billion euros) for the famous paper.

Pearson maintains that it “has initiated no sale process regarding the FT and categorically denies authorising any adviser or any bank, formally or informally.”

The New York Times reported last month that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was mulling the purchase of Pearson's Financial Times Group division. The paper had cited people close to Bloomberg.

Speculation over the sale of the Financial Times was stoked by recent news of the departure of two key executives.

Pearson announced in November that Rona Fairhead, chairman and chief executive of the Financial Times Group and a main board director, would leave the group in April 2013.

And in October, Pearson revealed that its chief executive Marjorie Scardino would step down at the end of December, ending her 16-year tenure. - Sapa-AFP

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