Following the recent sale of the Financial Times to Nikkei, Pearson has now sold its 50 percent stake in The Economist Group as well, for £469 million (or $731 million). Three-fifths of their stake (or a 30 percent share in the Economist) goes to Exor, the holding company for minority shareholder Agnelli, while the remaining portion (a 20 percent share) has been bought back by the Economist Group itself, funded by the sale of their headquarters, the Economist Complex, which has been the editorial team’s home for more than five decades. Pearson noted the “proposed changes will be put to a shareholder vote next month and include a 20 percent voting cap for any individual shareholder, and a rule that no one individual or company can own more than 50 percent of the Group’s shares.”
As with the £844 million/$1.3 billion sale of the Financial Times, Pearson is expected to use the funds to pay down debt and fuel additional acquisitions in education. The Economist sale will reaffirm investor expectations that Pearson will look to sell their minority share Penguin Random House at some point over the next couple of years, per ceo John Fallon’s premature declaration last month that “Pearson will now be 100 percent focused on our global education strategy.”
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has now sold more than three million copies in the US, Riverhead announced.
In personnel news, Penguin Random house has promoted Kristen Fleming to director, online & digital business development. In addition, Lynn Kovach is named director, Random House adult sales, working on Barnes & Noble, while Caroline Riordan has been appointed to the same position for Penguin adult sales.
Kate Weiss has joined Chelsea Green Publishing as assistant trade sales manager. Previously she was events coordinator at Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, KY.
In the UK, managing director of client services for Nielsen Book’s Book International Ann Betts will leave the company at the end of the month, announced internally. The Bookseller reports, “It is understood that Betts’ role has been made redundant following the company’s leadership changes.”
Gloria Steinem will receive the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, organizers announced. Steinem will receive the honor at a gala ceremony on November 1.