July 23, 2015 Last Updated 8:04 am

Flipboard updates iOS app, raises $50M in new funding; reports say sale of Financial Times imminent

Pearson could sell its business newspaper for up to £1 billion, with Bloomberg, Axel Springer and Thomson Reuters considered among the most likely buyers

The aggregated content magazine app Flipboard today updated its iOS app, bringing the app up to version 3.3.3. The update comes a day after the company confirmed that it had raised $50 million in new funding.

Flipboard-iPad-updateThe new funding arrives weeks before Apple is set to introduce its own aggregated app, Apple News. Rumors have swirled for a while that Flipboard could be sold, but the new funding probably means that is not in the cards, at least for now. Any buyer would probably want to see if Flipboard users migrate to the new Apple News app, to be released as part of iOS 9 in September.

“I can confirm that we closed a $50 million round with a new institutional investor,” a spokeswoman told VentureBeat. “We’ll use the funds to expand our engineering and sales teams as well as increase investment in infrastructure to support the growing number of readers and curators on Flipboard.”

Flipboard was launched in 2010 by Evan Doll, a former Apple iPhone engineer, and Mike McCue, a former Tellme and Microsoft executive.

Here is the information on the app update:

What’s New in Version 3.3.3
– By popular request, your “Likes” are saved and accessible in your profile tab. It’s a great, new way to share your interests, and bookmark your favorite stories for later.
– Improvements including better search relevance, a more robust privacy section, a new look for the compose feature, as well as many bug fixes.

FT-front-400Pearson is set announce today that it has sold off the Financial Times. The sale, to a “global digital news company,” according to a report from Reuters.

Leading contenders include Bloomberg, Axel Springer and Thomson Reuters.

“Pearson notes recent press speculation and confirms that it is in advanced discussions regarding the potential disposal of FT Group although there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction,” the company said. “A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

Press speculation has been that the financial newspaper could raise as much as £1 billion for Pearson. The FT has been successful, as other financial newspapers have, in selling digital subscriptions, though it famously walked away from the Apple app ecosystem over the issue of fees. But its success in digital has been matched by the WSJ which has taken the opposite approach, proving that business publications are the one area where paywalls and digital subscriptions seem to work – whether online or in app form.

Update: the Financial Times confirms that the interested buyer is Axel Springer, Germany’s largest newspaper company. “A sale would propel Axel Springer into the English-language newspaper business, while continuing Pearson’s efforts to focus on education,” the FT said today.

Later update: OK this is interesting, Axel Springer has just sent out a press release deying that it is about to acquire the Financial Times. The FT got the story wrong, apparently, so does that effect it value? (probably not)

Anlässlich der Medienberichte vom heutigen Tag weist die Axel Springer SE Spekulationen über einen Erwerb der Financial Times-Gruppe zurück und stellt fest, dass die Axel Springer SE die Financial Times-Gruppe nicht erwerben wird.

Final update (hopefully): MarketWatch reports that Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei said it is the buyer of the Financial Times, with Pearson confirming it and saying it is at £844 million, payable in cash.

“Pearson has been a proud proprietor of the FT for nearly 60 years,” John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said in Pearson’s announcement of the deal. “But we’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social. In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.”

US soccer took a major step backwards yesterday when the men’s team lost of Jamiaca 2-1 in the semifinals of the Gold Cup, its first home loss against a Caribbean national team since 1969. The loss has some calling for the head of manager Jurgen Klinsmann, though that is unlikely.

What is true, however, is that the tournament, a high priority for the team and its coach, has shown that the US team has regressed. It was, at best, only the fourth or fifth best team in the tournament, at a time when some thought the US was ready to break out and become a serious player in world soccer.

Once again it seems the US team will have to regroup and reevaluate itself. Worse, soccer fans will hear it from those who always say soccer is not a US sport and never will be. At least for the men.

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