Murdoch, Abu Dhabi media group eye Financial Times, report says

Murdoch, Abu Dhabi media group eye Financial Times, report says

KUALA LUMPUR - Agence France-Presse
Murdoch, Abu Dhabi media group eye Financial Times, report says

News Corp Chief Murdoch is in talks to acquire 25 percent of Financial Times while Abu Dahabi Media Group is aiming 75 percent, reports say. REUTERS photo

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Abu Dhabi’s state media group are in talks to acquire the Financial Times Group for about $1.2 billion, a report said Friday.

The move would see Murdoch add the respected Financial Times name as well as 50 percent of the Economist magazine to his vast empire, which already includes the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones.
The Edge Review, a regional political and business digital magazine based in Malaysia, said the talks had been progressing for more than a month with the owners -- London-based publishing and education giant Pearson.

Citing financial executives familiar with the negotiations it said a decision could be finalised as early as next week.

As well as the FT and Economist the deal also includes several high-end financial information services. The report said financing details and shareholding structure of the new company that will own the FT group are being worked out.

An executive familiar with the talks was cited by the Edge Review as saying the Abu Dhabi Media Group is expected to control roughly 75 percent of the venture with Murdoch picking up the balance.

Murdoch is also negotiating to buy another 25 percent stake at a later date, it said.

The Edge Review said that while the influence of oil and gas money from the Middle East has been focused on sports, the move to media was new and could radically reshape the global newspaper landscape because of Murdoch’s involvement. In the past, Murdoch’s conglomerate has made a string of high-profile acquisitions, including the Fox broadcasting giant and Hollywood studio. News of 82-year-old Murdoch’s latest business foray comes as his media-entertainment conglomerate News Corp. prepares to split after US stock markets close on Friday.

The division of the company -- which generates some $34 billion in revenues worldwide -- will create two independent, publicly traded companies, both headed in some form by the Australian-born magnate.