Pearson exploring sale of Financial Times: Bloomberg

(Reuters) — British publisher Pearson is exploring the sale of its Financial Times newspaper after receiving interest from potential buyers, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Pearson was sounding out possible bidders for the newspaper and a sale may value the business at as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion), Bloomberg reported.

A spokesman for Pearson said the group did not comment on market rumor or speculation.

Axel Springer , the German newspaper publisher which is in talks to combine with broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media, could be interested, Bloomberg said.

A spokeswoman for Axel Springer declined to comment.

A sale of the global business newspaper has long been the subject of speculation as Pearson has focused on building its education business.

The group, however, maintains the newspaper has a place in its portfolio. In 2012 it denied a Bloomberg story saying it was seeking offers for the business.

Shares in Pearson were trading down 1.2 percent at 1,260 pence at 1513 GMT. The company is due to publish interim financial results on Friday. ($1 = 0.6428 pounds)