By Marcus Leach

Pearson is today (Monday) announcing that it has agreed to sell its 50% stake in FTSE International Limited (FTSE) to the London Stock Exchange Group plc for £450 million in cash.

FTSE is a world-leader in the creation and management of more than 200,000 equity, bond and alternative asset class indices. With offices in London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Madrid, Milan, Mumbai, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Tokyo, FTSE works with partners and clients in 80 countries worldwide.

Pearson and London Stock Exchange Group currently each own 50% of FTSE. Under the terms of the agreement, London Stock Exchange Group will acquire from Pearson the 50% of FTSE that it does not own and continue to use the FTSE name. The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2012.

In 2010, FTSE reported total revenues of £98.5 million and total EBITDA of £40 million. At 31 December 2010, FTSE had gross assets of £100.8m.
Pearson expects FTSE to make a total post-tax contribution to Pearson’s adjusted earnings of approximately £18 million or 2.2p per share in 2011.

The transaction follows the sale of Pearson’s stake in Interactive Data last year for $2bn. It marks Pearson’s exit from companies that are primarily providers of financial data and strengthens the FT Group’s focus on global business news, analysis and intelligence, increasingly delivered through subscription models and digital channels.

Pearson intends to use the proceeds of the sale to support and accelerate its strategy, investing in its businesses both organically and through acquisitions of companies with complementary content, technology and geographic exposure. In recent years Pearson’s organic investments have enabled it to gain share in many of its markets.

The company has also made a series of bolt-on acquisitions (including vocational training companies in the UK, global business intelligence through Mergermarket, universities in South Africa, online learning businesses in North America, language schools in China and school systems in Brazil) which have rapidly enhanced Pearson’s earnings and return on invested capital.

“FTSE is a bellwether of global financial markets and a world-class business," Marjorie Scardino, Pearson’s chief executive, said.

"We have enjoyed supporting the company’s excellent and highly professional team to build the business. Proud as we are of that long association, FTSE’s strategy is different from our own. We wish it every success as we continue to build our digital business information services around the Financial Times.

“For Pearson, the transaction further strengthens our financial position at a time of significant macroeconomic turbulence. We are freeing up capital for continued investment in a proven strategy: becoming more digital, more international and more service-oriented in education, business information and consumer publishing.”

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