Pearson announced today that it will sell the FT Group to Japanese publisher Nikkei Inc. for 844 million pounds (US$ 1.3 billion), bringing together two seemingly strong financial news companies from Europe and Asia.

The sale does not include Pearson’s 50 per cent stake in The Economist Group, as well as the FT Group’s London property, according to Pearson. The transaction is subject to a number of regulatory approvals and is expected to complete during the fourth quarter of 2015.

There has been speculation this week over the sale of the FT, intensifying mid-day today when it was reported by Reuters and the FT itself that Axel Springer was in advanced talks with Pearson to buy the FT. But the German media conglomerate denied it, and shortly after Pearson announced that Nikkei was the purchaser.

The move will now allow Pearson to focus completely on its global education portfolio and strategy, according to Pearson chief executive officer John Fallon.

Besides its flagship Nikkei newspaper, the new Japanese owner has a diverse portfolio in publishing, digital media, data services, broadcasting, research and other services.

“We’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social,” Mr Fallon said in the Pearson statement. “In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.”

Tsuneo Kita, chairman and group CEO of Nikkei, said in the announcement:

“I am extremely proud of teaming up with the Financial Times, one of the most prestigious news organisations in the world.

“Our motto of providing high-quality reporting on economic and other news, while maintaining fairness and impartiality, is very close to that of the FT. We share the same journalistic values.

“Together, we will strive to contribute to the development of the global economy.”