FT Buys Medley Global Advisors

Pearson’s (PSON.L) Financial Times has bought Medley Global Advisors, a provider of macroeconomic intelligence to hedge funds and banks, as it shifts emphasis from advertising-funded publications to subscription services.

UK-based Pearson, whose main business is educational publishing, said last month it may sell its $1.5 billion stake in Interactive Data Corp (IDC.N), which sells financial-market data and brings in most of the FT Group’s revenues and profits.

The FT is stepping up its investments in premium services to reduce its reliance on advertising, which is emerging from a severe downturn but still in decline, and to withstand difficult conditions in the financial-services industry.

It said on Wednesday MGA’s core subscribers, which include most of the world’s top 20 banks, had stuck with the firm through the worst days of the global financial crisis.

In 2008, Pearson bought Money-Media, an online news and commentary service for fund managers. It also publishes FTfm, a weekly review of the fund-management industry, as well as owning the FT newspaper and a 50 percent stake in The Economist.

Privately owned Medley Global Advisors, founded by former George Soros political strategist Richard Medley in 1997, counts top hedge funds and asset managers as well as investment banks among its customers.

It had estimated gross assets of $7.3 million at the end of 2009 and employs about 45 staff around the world. Its clients are concentrated in the Americas and Europe.

FT Chief Executive John Ridding said he saw great growth potential in expanding editorial coverage outside those core markets, exploiting the FT’s global presence.

“The timing is right for such an expansion with the rebalancing of the financial world beyond New York and London and the rapid rise of new financial centres in Asia and the Gulf,” he said in comments sent by email.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Hans Peters)

peHUB note: Boston Ventures Limited Partnership VI and Castanea Partners acquired Medley Global Advisors (MGA), in partnership with existing management, in 2005.