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Blue chip firm in talks to create up to 125 jobs in Belfast

The Pearson Group headquarters in London

ONE of the world's best known publishing firms is in discussions to create up to 125 jobs at a new Belfast base.

The Pearson Group is understood to be considering sites across the city centre and has even moved to interview for senior positions.

It is understood the blue chip firm is keen to reinvest the more than £1 billion it raised from selling the Financial Times and a stake in The Economist.

The move would be the London-headquartered group's first major operation in Northern Ireland if given the go-ahead.

It is understood the offices would represent a multi-million pound investment in a move that would be eligible for backing with public money.

Although initially considering offices for around 75 to 125 staff, it is believed Pearson would have a view to growing that number to as many as 400 in coming years.

The group has sought in recent years to restructure from a media company to concentrate solely on providing education services.

It offers a range of school exams and provides online educational resources and teaching tools.

Pearson retains a 47 per cent stake in book publisher Penguin Random House.

It last year sold the FT Group to Japanese media firm Nikkei for £844 million and offloaded its 50 per cent stake in the Economist Group for £469m.

Chief executive John Fallon said the businesses were sold to aid what was "going to be one of the great global growth stories of the next decade".

The company offers a range of school exams including BTEC and Edexel.

It also provides online and print educational resources for schools, universities and professionals across the globe.

The firm was founded in the 19th century as a building contractor and grew to be one of the largest companies in the world in that field.

Neither the Pearson Group nor Invest NI would comment when contacted yesterday.

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