Nikkei trumped Axel Springer for FT prize with last minute £844m bid
As anyone familiar with eBay purchases will attest the final minutes in a bidding war are the most crucial but few will have experienced quite such a heart-stopping few minutes as Nikkei, Japan’s largest media company, in its tussle with Germany’s Axel Springer to wrest control of the Financial Times from Pearson.
New detail on the closing stages of the bidding process have been published by the FT, which show that the sale went ahead only after a dramatic 11th hour bid of £844m in cash was made in the closing minutes of the sale deadline.
Until that point Axel Springer had been expected to walk away with the prize, after it began courting the group last year with a minority investment. Nikkei, in contrast, only began formal talks five weeks ago.
The late offer was signed at 14:00 on Thursday and announced to the market at 15:00. At 15:06 Axel Springer conceded defeat by announcing it would not be tabling any improved offers and at 15:13 Pearson duly announced the terms it had agreed with Nikkei.
The deal does not include lucrative FT assets including a 50 per cent stake in The Economist and the FT’s Central London head office building, both of which will remain in the hands of Pearson.