The Financial Times is under new ownership but not afraid to take its new bosses – the Japanese media company Nikkei – to task.
It was in 2014 the newspaper was critical of its new owners’ “previews” of Japanese corporate earnings, which it said were systematic “apparent leaks” from companies to the newspaper. Will there be editorial clashes in the future?
Faced with reporters and on home turf the chairman of Nikkei, Tsuneo Kita, admitted his English was not good enough to read the FT but said its editorial independence will remain.
“I won’t try to change the FT’s management or editorial styles. It will remain unchanged as the Financial Times. I have already said to the paper’s Chief Executive John Ridding that the FT becoming stronger is beneficial to Nikkei.”
Nikkei’s one point two billion euro purchase of the 127 year-old FT stunned the media world. The Japanese paper dominates business coverage in Japan but is a stranger overseas. What influence will it bring to bear on its new family member?
“I think you might begin to see a shift in some of its coverage. Also maybe in the tone as well. Certainly the FT has been the leader of the voice of the sort of pro-European element in British politics and that may start to evolve slightly differently if you have a new owner,” opined market analyst Chris Beauchamp.
There are no planned staff redundancies or mergers of the two papers’ bureaus according to Nikkei, but some expect changes.
“I am kind of happy and kind of think something is going to change. But it’s interesting,” said one employee while another added: “It’s really very early to say. I can’t say because I don’t have enough information on the new owner.”
It is Information which has made the Financial Times a global authority – an undoubted attraction to its new owners who have pledged investment to support the FT’s future growth.