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Scooped: What The Nikkei Deal Means For The Derivatives Industry

Nikkei got the scoop of the year. It purchased the Financial Times at the 11th hour from FT parent Pearson for £844 million ($1.3 billion).

The big surprise was that Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing’s Charles Li, CEO and former journalist, didn’t buy it, a seeming bargain compared to the LME price tag of £1.39 billion.

The media world will care much more about this deal than the rest of the globe. The journalist handwringing over Rupert Murdoch’s buyout of the Wall Street Journal in 2007 for $5 billion amounted to nothing substantive. The FT will likely maintain its focus as well. Let’s hope so for this industry, because it is essentially the only mainstream newspaper (if that’s even an accurate term these days), which covers the derivatives industry with any regularity.

Sad to say, but the flagship Chicago papers have no one covering the cornerstone industry of the city any longer, and haven’t for many years. The New York Times covers the industry when it pertains to regulatory matters and enforcement scandals. That leaves few other outlets to cover the news in this space and the FT has done a commendable job of it.

The journalism space for years now has been like confetti tossed up in the air. Few seem to have figured out how to transition from paper to the digital world and make a profit. The Wall Street Journal and FT have transitioned well,  but many news outlets have fallen off or just closed shop. That should be of interest to this industry because that means you have fewer outlets who can amplify your voice and story to readers.

John Lothian News has taken a sizeable role in this regard and strange as it sounds, we feel saddened when another industry news outlet closes because that means fewer journalists are focused on our industry. Blogs are making up for some of it, yes. Gary DeWaal’s “Bridging The Week” is one great example, along with Craig Pirrong’s “Streetwise Professor” just to name a couple. But quality blogs that hit key issues with a voice that carries are few and far between. That is concerning for this industry, which is critical to the global economy, but somehow does not garner the in-depth coverage that is needed to educate and inform the broader market. Without that understanding, it often becomes the punching bag for all that is wrong with financial markets.  

We will do our level best to raise our profile via this newsletter and through our own educational efforts such as the intern speaker series. The rest of us should think about how to continue to make this industry relevant to the broader public, and let us hope Nikkei shares that view.

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About Author

Kharouf is a Chicago-based freelance reporter and editor who was previously CEO and editor-in-chief of John Lothian News.