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Second edition: Freshfields, Linklaters and Macfarlanes advise on Pearson’s £469m sale of The Economist

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has reprised its role for Pearson as, just weeks after selling the Financial Times, the publishing group agreed to sell its stake in The Economist group for £469m to Macfarlanes‘ client Exor and back to the group itself.

Freshfields corporate partners Oliver Lazenby and Simon Marchant led the team advising Pearson on the sale of its 50% interest in the group, which comprises the weekly magazine plus other titles and the Economist Intelligence Unit, to existing shareholder Exor which is taking 27.8% with 22.2% repurchased by the group.

The same team most recently acted for Pearson on its disposal of the Financial Times group to Japan’s Nikkei for £844m, announced in July, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised Nikkei and Herbert Smith Freehills acted for Pearson on UK real estate matters.

The Magic Circle firm has built a strong relationship with the FTSE-100 company, with duo Marchant and Lazenby having also advised the publisher on the combination between Penguin and Random House, as well as its disposal of Mergermarket Group. 

Macfarlanes partner John Dodsworth advised the Italian-based investment firm on the Economist buy alongside Italian law firm Pedersoli e Associati’s partner Carlo Re. Pedersoli also advised Exor on all regulatory aspects of the transaction with partner Davide Cacchioli and junior partner Lisa Noja advising.

Meanwhile, Linklaters acted for the The Economist Newspaper itself on the deal as the overarching group repurchased £182m worth of shares in an effort to safeguard editorial independence. The Silk street team was led by corporate partners Richard Godden and James Inglis.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to complete by the end of the year.