Upon reading the news of Nikkei’s purchase of the FT on Friday, July 24 morning JST, my initial reaction was over the continuation
integrity at the FT.
Nikkei has long been characterized as a goyo
shinbun or a pro-establishment paper.
Its unabashed cheerleading of
Shinzo Abe’s administration and policies is one
such example – although to be fair, of late even Nikkei’s pages have
started to become
somewhat circumspect of the results of Abenomics.
fact remains that FT’s parent Pearson was intent on jettisoning FT,
that it was in discussions with Germany’s Axel Springer
over the sale of FT. Springer is better
known as the
of bare boobs German tabloid Bild (although to be fair, it does
a “conscience” component within its portfolio in loss leader
daily Die Welt). This and having observed
companies’ rather single minded pursuit of their strategies
to an acquisition, my instinct would tell me that between
and Springer, Nikkei is potentially the better fit with the FT.
The better fit assessment assumes that Nikkei handles its post
integration (“PMI”) process well.
Nikkei has, aside from the purchase of McGraw-Hill’s 49% stake in business periodicals joint venture Nikkei
McGraw-Hill (now Nikkei BP) in 1988, never done a major
PMI therefore is a big question that the future alone will be able
There is a positive note. Nikkei
BP publications have taken a much
more nuanced attitude towards the Shinzo Abe administration’s
economic policies than its parent, and if this degree of editorial
independence given to Nikkei BP is of any measure, the editors and
readers of FT would not have too much to worry about on the
However, some Nikkei BP insiders speak in hushed terms of a gradual
“Nikkei takeover” and its effects on editorial content. If this is the
case, then the same FT editors and readers have much to worry about.
So, the quick summary to all this? The jury’s out on the effects of the
Nikkei acquisition of the FT.
I shall continue to watch the FT’s editorial