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REWIND: International Business News #103

In this week’s REWIND of international business news,

Financial Times to be sold by Parent company: Pearson Plc.

Pearson Plc. is in advanced talks to sell the FT Group – owner of the Financial Times newspaper and a stake in the Economist magazine. The Financial Times may draw interest from media companies such as German media group Axel Springer SE as well as investors in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. A sale may value the FT at as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion). On this news, Pearson shares are up 2.6% in London trading to 10.2 billion pounds (approximately $15.9 billion). The sale of the FT group would allow Pearson CEO John Fallon to focus on the slowdown in Pearson’s education unit weighed down by declining U.S. college enrollments and falling textbook sales.

Ferrari drives into Wall Street with an IPO

Eight months ago, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a spin-off of Ferrari. Now on July 23, 2015, Fiat Chrysler announced that it would list the Ferrari subsidiary (calling it “Ferrari NV”), in New York by formally filing for an initial public offering of its common stock with US regulators. 10% of the supercar maker’s common stock will be listed on the NYSE and 80% will be distributed among the existing Fiat Chrysler shareholders. The final 10% will by held by founder Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Ferrari.  The company has set a nominal funding target of $100 million.

EU Opens Anti-Trust Case against Major US and UK studios

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, charged major American film studios (including Disney, Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal, Sony, 21st Century Fox, and Warner Bros.) and television companies and Sky UK with unfairly blocking access to movies and other content. The “statement of objections” filed by the European Commission, following an investigation that was opened in January 2014, stated that limits were imposed by using a technique called “geo-blocking,” which prevents consumers from watching content purchased in the UK in other EU countries. For example, the practice would prevent a Londoner from watching a Disney movie purchased on the Sky UK platform while travelling in Rome. The objections are a preliminary step in EU antitrust cases. Companies that do not rebut the charges, however, may face fines of up to 10% of their most recent global annual sales.