Nikkei’s digital media dream

Nikkei will use its $1.3bn purchase of the Financial Times to build a digital media powerhouse by harnessing the English-language newspaper’s brand and skill in getting subscribers to pay for premium business news, its chairman said.

As the biggest international acquisition by a Japanese media organisation completes, Nikkei chairman Tsuneo Kita said he would guarantee the independence of the salmon-pink title by giving his word about not meddling.

“Our management objectives at Nikkei are global and digital, those are the two key words, and so for the future, in order to grow as global media and to further promote our digital media business, the best partner is definitely the FT,” Kita said. “We wish to expand our market.”

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The Japanese group beat Germany’s Axel Springer in July to buy the FT from Pearson, which wanted to focus on its bigger education business.

Kita and John Ridding, the chief executive of the Financial Times, dismissed talk of a trophy purchase, saying both Nikkei and the FT saw an opportunity to move beyond the traditional defensive play of some competitors who are trying to shore up their print circulations.

“A lot of news media, particularly traditional news media, has been playing defence,” Ridding said.