Nikkei going global with Financial Times takeover

12:22 PM | 24 Jul, 2015
Nikkei going global with Financial Times takeover
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TOKYO (APP) - Japanese media giant Nikkei's surprise acquisition of the Financial Times for $1.3 billion underscores its goal to be the voice of Asia on economic affairs as part of a broader Internet-driven global expansion.

But the unlikely cross-border marriage -- Japanese media rarely venture overseas and are routinely criticised as timid in pursuit of investigative news -- has sparked concerns about editorial independence at the storied salmon-pink business paper founded in 1888.

"The merger of the Financial Times and Nikkei will give the group a major international presence in the media sector," the Japanese paper said in its Friday edition, touting it as the country's biggest-ever foreign media acquisition.

President and CEO Naotoshi Okada said on the Nikkei's website: "Our goal is nothing short of making Nikkei the leading media voice in Asia".

In Japan, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun -- or Nikkei daily -- is a must-read for executives and has a strong track record of financial scoops.

About 2.7 million copies of its morning edition are printed daily while the afternoon version numbers 1.4 million copies.

The FT deal adds an internationally known brand and about 225,000 print copies to the Nikkei's arsenal as it eyes a battle with business powerhouses the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

Online, the Nikkei-FT marriage would catapult the group past the New York Times' 910,000 Internet subscribers.

Like the FT, the Nikkei is seen as a business bible. Its 140-year-old history is inextricably linked with Japan's industrial sector and once-booming economy, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark index -- the Nikkei 225 -- takes it name from the group.