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Financial Times: A reference point for global business
[LONDON] The Financial Times, revealed on Thursday to be for sale, has been an indispensible guide for the business world for a century and with its digital and foreign editions is a truly international newspaper.
It started life in 1888 as a four-page publication targeted at readers in the City of London and has distinguished itself from its rivals since 1893 by its salmon pink paper - a bold innovation that still makes it stand out on the newsstands today.
The paper's founding motto was to be a friend to the "Honest Financier" and the "Respectable Broker" in the British capital's financial trading hub and it takes an unashamedly free-market position.
It now sells more copies overseas than in Britain and reaches more than two million people each day around the world, although it has struggled in the United States.
The newspaper's website, FT.com, launched in 1995, and digital subscriptions now account for 70 per cent of the total circulation of 720,000.
"The FT is the premier business newspaper in the world, with a global reach that exceeds its main rival, the Wall Street Journal," Steve Schifferes, financial journalism professor at London's City University, told AFP.
"Its strength lies in its excellent sources and strong commentary and analysis, which covers both markets and economic and political developments."
In 1945 the paper merged with the less successful Financial News and was acquired by its current owner, Pearson in 1957.
Since then it has broadened its coverage to include business, financial, economic and political news, as well as comment and analysis, exemplified by its Lex column.
The paper has also maintained a strong network of foreign correspondents where other rivals have cut their overseas staff, evidence of its international approach.
In 1979, the European edition started printing in Frankfurt and the newspaper now prints all over the world, including in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Dubai - all on pink paper.
There are currently five editions of the Financial Times - the UK, Europe, US, Asia and Middle East - and a Chinese version, although a German language edition closed in 2012.
Under the masthead, it proudly describes itself as a "World Business Newspaper".
The paper publishes six days a week including a Saturday weekend edition, and employs about 2,000 people, including 600 working in editorial.
In an age of widespread free content, it insists that quality journalism must be paid for, keeping the cover price high and being among the first to introduce a paywall for its website, in 2001.
Subscription is not cheap, costing £13.50 a week for the print and online editions in Britain, US$11.77 in the United States, 19.55 euros in Germany and US$100.54 in Hong Kong.
But much can be derived about its target audience by the luxury lifestyle showcased in its monthly magazine "How to Spend It".