Nikkei's purchase of the FT2015/07/27 07:04

Upon reading the news of Nikkei’s purchase of the FT on Friday, July 24 morning JST, my initial reaction was over the continuation of editorial
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. 


The fact remains that FT’s parent Pearson was intent on jettisoning FT,

and that it was in discussions with Germany’s Axel Springer

(“Springer”) over the sale of FT.  Springer is better known as the

owner of bare boobs German tabloid Bild (although to be fair, it does

have a “conscience” component within its portfolio in loss leader

conservative daily Die Welt).  This and having observed some

German companies’ rather single minded pursuit of their strategies

subsequent to an acquisition, my instinct would tell me that between

Nikkei and Springer, Nikkei is potentially the better fit with the FT.


The better fit assessment assumes that Nikkei handles its post merger
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 acquisition. 
PMI therefore is a big question that the future alone will be able to


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 editorial
content front. 


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