Financial Times Takes Investment Stake in Business Standard

The Financial Times will today formally sign an agreement to take a 13.85 per cent equity stake in the Business Standard, India's second largest daily financial newspaper.

The signing marks the first major investment in an Indian newspaper by a foreign media investor, and brings one of the world's greatest business information brands into a strategic partnership with one of India's most respected business newspapers.

The FT's intention to purchase a stake was first announced in September 2003, however the Business Standard and the Financial Times have been co-operating for over ten years through a variety of initiatives, including the publication of the FT's editorial content in the Business Standard, drawn from the FT's global network of over 500 reporters.

The Financial Times joins the Kotak Mahindra Group and Great Eastern Shipping as the leading investors in the Business Standard, which will continue to operate as an independent entity, with the Financial Times represented on the Board.

The Business Standard is published from seven centres in India, reaching readers in over 500 Indian towns and cities every day.  From 22 June 2004, all editions will carry a dedicated page of FT content from Monday through to Saturday and the FT content will also appear on the Business Standard website.

John Ridding, editor and publisher of the Financial Times in Asia, said : ?We are delighted to finalise our partnership with the Business Standard. India is a very important market for the FT and growing our brand and business in India is the next step in the evolution of our Asia edition. The agreement reflects our global business strategy of investing in the leading titles in local markets, whilst continuing to promote the FT brand.?

T.N. Ninan, Editor and Publisher of the Business Standard, said : 'Business Standard is delighted to have the Financial Times as a shareholder and partner. This is the first strategic investment in an Indian newspaper by a global publishing leader, and we will offer our readers the very best international business content, by using the FT's news
reports and analytical articles.'
Ends.

For further information, please contact :

Candice D'Souza, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Mumbai  
Tel. 022 ? 24913890 / 24913949, email : candice.d'souza@ogilvy.com

Katy Hemmings, Financial Times (Mumbai)
Tel. +44 7957 114 837, email : katy.hemmings@ft.com

Joanna Manning-Cooper, Financial Times (London)
Tel.  +44 207 873 4447, email : joanna.manning-cooper@ft.com
 
Notes to Editors

The Business Standard is India's second largest financial newspaper and is published from seven centres in India : Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The newspaper believes in free, fair and independent journalism and prides itself on the quality, credibility and accuracy of its editorial content. The newspaper has a daily circulation of over 70,000, across its seven editions.

The Financial Times is one of the world's leading business information brands, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy both in print and online. Providing extensive news, comment and analysis, the newspaper is printed in twenty two cities across the globe and has a daily circulation of over 440,000 and a readership of more than

1.6 million people worldwide. FT.com has 3.7 million unique monthly users, and attracts over 59.6 million page views. The site has over 76,000 subscribers.

The FT Group has a stake in a number of joint ventures, including;

FTSE International, a joint venture with the London Stock Exchange.
Financial Times Deutschland, a German language business newspaper and website in conjunction with Gruner + Jahr
Vedomosti, Russia's leading business newspaper and a partnership venture with Dow Jones and Independent Media
A 50% stake in BDFM, publishers of South Africa's leading financial newspapers and websites.
A 50% stake in The Economist Group, which publishes the world's leading weekly business and current affairs journal.

The FT Group also has a pan?European network of business publications, including Les Echos in France and Expansion (part of the Recoletos group) in Spain, which reinforces the FT's strategy of investing in the leading local language business publications in its key markets.