Economist Magazine May Sell 50%

ECONPearson Plc is in talks to sell its 50 percent stake in The Economist Group, the publisher of the international news and business magazine.

?Pearson confirms it is in discussions with The Economist Group board and trustees regarding the potential sale of our 50 percent share in the group,? the company said in an e-mailed statement on Saturday. ?There is no certainty that this process will lead to a transaction.?

The families that already hold shares in The Economist Group, including the Cadburys, Rothschilds and Schroders, are in talks to buy the 50 percent stake being sold by Pearson, according to people familiar with the matter. Those and other families as well as current and former staff own the other half through class A shares, according to the group?s website.

Pearson?s stake could be valued at as much as 400 million pounds ($620 million), one of the people said, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. No final decision has been made, and Pearson has also held talks with other potential buyers, the people said.

A disposal of the stake in the Economist would follow the sale of the Financial Times to Nikkei Inc. this week. Pearson Chief Executive Officer John Fallon is seeking to focus on the company?s education business, digital operations and emerging markets to counter a slowdown in mature markets in the U.S. and U.K.

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