Retos Cartera, a newly formed investment vehicle, has offered €7.20 (euros) per share to take ownership of Pearson's majority 79% stake in Recoletos, which publishes titles including the sports newspaper Marca, the biggest daily paper in Spain. The deal is dependent on regulatory approval and Pearson said it expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year. The deal will also give Pearson the first option to buy the Spanish business newspaper Expansion if Recoletos sells it within 18 months of the completion of the deal.
Retos Cartera, is backed by Recoletos management, individual investors and Banesto, part of the Banco de Santander banking group.
Marjorie Scardino, Pearson's chief executive, said: "The growth of Recoletos has been strong, making it a media powerhouse in Spain. Now that its strategy — in sport, lifestyle and general publications — is taking it further away from the FT Group's focus on business and financial news and information, it is time for us to part company. This transaction offers us very strong value for Recoletos and an ongoing relationship with the company we've helped to build." Pearson and Recoletos will continue to share content as well as printing and purchasing operations.
Recoletos was formed in 1992 through the merger of a number of publishing companies into Espacio Editorial, owner of Marca, in which Pearson held a 21% stake. Along with publishing Marca and Expansion, Recoletos has a presence in Portugal, Argentina, Chile and the US. Earlier this year, Recoletosbacked Meximerica Media launched Rumbo, a network of Spanish-language daily newspapers in the US. Rumbo publishes four different editions in San Antonio, Austin, Houston and The Lower Rio Grande Valley (Mc Allen).
Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times, is selling off its Spanish media business Recoletos in a US $966 million dollar deal, saying that it does not fit with the main financial and business focus of the FT Group.