November 14, 2018 / 10:19 AM / 5 months ago

UK's Pearson sells FT building to M&G Real Estate for 115 mln stg

LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - British education publisher Pearson is selling its property at One Southwark Bridge in London, the current home of the Financial Times newspaper, to M&G Real Estate for 115 million pounds ($149 million), it said on Wednesday.

Pearson and M&G have exchanged contracts with a target of completing the deal by the end of 2018.

The terms of the deal will not impact the Financial Times’ current lease obligations, with the newspaper returning to its former headquarters at Bracken House in the City of London in mid-2019.

Pearson sold the newspaper to Japan’s Nikkei in 2015 to focus on its education business.

“This is an important step for Pearson in simplifying its UK property portfolio and becoming a leaner and more efficient company.” said Ben Almond, Pearson’s global head of property.

Last month Pearson said it was on track for a return to profit growth this year.

The group said on Wednesday its priorities for capital allocation were unchanged, with a focus on maintaining a strong balance sheet, continuing to invest in the business, maintaining a progressive dividend and returning any surplus cash to shareholders.

Shares in Pearson, up 24 percent this year, were flat on Wednesday.

$1 = 0.7716 pounds Reporting by James Davey; editing by Jason Neely

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