The Scotsman reports that shares in Pearson (parent company of Penguin and the Financial Times) jumped more than 4 percent on Wednesday to their highest price since mid-2002 in hefty volume amid speculation over a private-equity buyout for the world’s largest educational publisher. Details of a report in the weekly The Business magazine, due to be published on Thursday but noted by traders during the afternoon, singled out private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. as a possible bidder.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters, however, that KKR currently had no plans to bid for Pearson. The private-equity firm declined to comment. Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, has previously said any sale of the FT, which recorded a 11% rise in ad revenues for the first nine months of 2006, would happen “over my dead body”, but despite Pearson’s denials that it would consider selling off its prize newspaper asset, Franklin Templeton, one of the FT’s largest stakeholders warned last year that the FT would be in danger unless “tens of millions of pounds a year” was made in profits.