Pearson Said to Seek Up to $500 Million for Mergermarket

Pearson Plc is seeking as much as $500 million for its financial-information division Mergermarket Ltd., with first-round bids due by the end of September, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company sent information on the business to potential buyers last week, said two people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Private-equity firms including Warburg Pincus LLC are among the interested parties, the people said.

Mergermarket posted about $150 million in sales last year, Pearson Chief Executive Officer John Fallon said at the company’s earnings meeting last month. The company, which has more than 500 journalists and analysts globally, was founded in 2000 to offer financial news and information to clients including banks and hedge funds, according to its website.

Pearson is planning to enter talks with two or three bidders by November and reach an agreement by the end of the year, one person said. The London-based publisher and education company expects private-equity buyers to have committed financing lined up for bids to be considered, the person said. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is running the sale.

Mergermarket’s management team will have a say in choosing a winner, one person said. The team, led by CEO Hamilton Matthews, would prefer a sale to a buyout firm so it can operate the company outside of the scrutiny of public shareholders, the person said.

Pearson acquired Mergermarket in 2006 for 101 million pounds, or $192 million at the time, and it is part of the company’s FT Group, which also owns the Financial Times newspaper.

Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, competes with Pearson in providing news and information to the financial-services industry.

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