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Dealwatch: Skadden and Freshfields make the news on Pearson’s FT sale

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have both won lead roles advising on Pearson’s £844m sale of the Financial Times.

The publishing group announced today it had agreed to sell the Financial Times Group to Japan’s largest media company, Nikkei, for £844m in cash.

Skadden won its first mandate from Nikkei to work on the deal with a cross-border team of lawyers led by Mitsuhiro Kamiya in Tokyo and M&A partner Scott Hopkins in London. Travers Smith provided support on aspects of English law with a team including pensions partner Philip Stear, Mahesh Varia covering employee incentives and IP specialist Dan Reavil.

Freshfields acted for Pearson with corporate partner Oliver Lazenby leading alongside Simon Marchant. The duo previously advised the publisher on the combination between its Penguin and Random House, as well as its disposal of Mergermarket Group. Herbert Smith Freehills acted for Pearson on UK real estate matters, with a team led by Alice Dockar.

The deal involves the FT newspaper,, How to Spend, The Banker and Investors Chronicle, but not the FT Group’s London headquarters at One Southwark Bridge and Pearson’s 50% stake in The Economist Group.

The the 127-year old newspaper currently has a circulation of 737,000 with 70% of that coming from digital sources. John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said: ‘Pearson has been a proud proprietor of the FT for nearly 60 years. But we’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social. In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.’