FT publisher Pearson freezes Libyan state share

1st March 2011, Comments 0 comments

British publisher Pearson on Tuesday froze shares in the company held by the Libyan state, saying it had taken the action after examining a UN Security Council resolution on Moamer Kadhafi's regime.

Pearson, which publishes the Financial Times newspaper, said the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) owns 3.27 percent of the company's issued share capital worth around £250 million ($407 million, 295 million euros).

The company said in a statement it had taken the decision after reviewing the UN Security Council resolution and an order imposed by the British government on assets of the Libyan regime.

"Having taken legal advice regarding its obligations under the order, Pearson considers that the ordinary shares in the company which are held by or on behalf of the LIA are subject to the Order and are therefore effectively frozen," the company said.

Pearson chief executive Marjorie Scardino added on Monday: "It is abhorrent to us what is happening in Libya and we have made it clear we are uncomfortable with the holding."

However, as a publicly listed company Pearson does not "choose our shareholders, they choose us", she explained.

"Unfortunately we can't tell a shareholder to get off our register," she said. "This is one of those glitches in the free market system."

© 2011 AFP

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