FT seeks deals to enhance digital capability
The Financial Times is in talks to buy companies that strengthen its digital subscription business as the newspaper capitalizes on greater financial support from its new owner, Japan’s Nikkei Inc, FT Chief Executive Officer John Ridding said.
The publisher is hunting for companies that can “support and accelerate our growth in quality content and, in particular, are based on digital subscriptions,” Ridding said in an interviewinNewYork. The company is also interested in technology firms that bolster its data analytics — valuable for targeting readers with advertising and subscriber offers, he said.
“We have a number of opportunities in the acquisition zone on the radar,” Ridding said. The newspaper declined to comment on which companies it was talking with. “There are some irons in the fire.”
Nikkei bought the London-based Financial Times a year ago for $1.3 billion after a bidding war with Germany’s Axel Springer SE. Prior to that, the financial newspaper was owned for 58 years by Pearson Plc, which had focused resources on turning around its education business.
“That left the FT needing support in particular areas of development,” Ridding said. “Nikkei has been very supportive of the investments we need to make.”
With Nikkei’s backing, the FT bought a controlling stake in London-based Alpha Grid in June tomake more branded content, such as creating videos for advertisers.
The Financial Times is getting help from Nikkei by combining their ad sales teams in Asia to offset headwinds in the advertising market, Ridding said. While the outlook for print newspapers in Japan is better than other parts of the world, Nikkei, which publishes the country’s leading business daily, is learning from the FT how to adapt to a digital world.