The Financial Times (universally abbreviated to 'FT') is primarily known as the leading business newspaper in Europe, if not the world. While it cannot compete with The Wall Street Journal for US-based news, or the Nikkei for Japanese news, it certainly competes with both for the reputation of top all-round global business paper.

Furthermore, in the opinion of this author, the FT is the only UK daily newspaper worthy of the name. While other publications appear to be obsessed with royalty, celebrities, voyeurism and TV soap operas, the FT carries more hard news than any other paper, and delivers it in an easy-to-read—-even humorous--style and with less political bias, and more incisive political comment than any of the other rags you can buy in the UK. it also retains a news agenda by making written content more important than the name of the columnist. Another refreshing change from other UK newspapers.

Its international editions change the balance of news away from the UK focus to suit the target readership

Beyond the newspaper, however, the management has spent the last five years or so building the FT brand as a major supplier of business information to world markets. In addition to the flagship title, with its UK, European, international and US editions, the FTgroup owns (or part-owns) the publishers of the top financial newspapers in France (Les Echos, 100%), Germany (Financial Times Deutschland , 50%), Spain (Expansión 100%), Portugal (Expansión 50%), South Africa (BDFM 50%) and Russia (Vedmosti undisclosed) . The FT group also owns 50 percent of the Economist group and has a specialist financial publishing arm, FT Business.

Outside conventional paper publishing, the FT group also operates the website and owns a portion of the site and as well as smaller websites associated with its international newspapers.

Taken together, this represents a formidable array of information sources and distribution outlets. The group is reasonably integrated in terms of its ability to provide news into a central core and then for editors of the individual publications to select which stories are applicable to their own readers.

FT group is owned by the Pearson group, which also owns Penguin book publishers and Pearson Education. The FT group generated about £70 million operating profit on sales of £800 million in 2001.

The FT was founded in 1888 as the London Financial Guide on January 9, and became the Financial Times a month later, on Feb 13. It was first published on its trademark pink paper in 1893, according to History of British Newspapers. This idea of "pink pages = financial news" is quite a powerful one among the UK newspaper readers. At least one paper, the Evening Standard, has adopted the idea and now publishes its daily city report on pink paper. folded within the main paper, which is on normal off-white newsprint.

Withnail writes: I read that they started to publish on pink newsprint to distinguish themselves from their rival at the the time, The Financial News. More trivia, they celebrated their centenary on January 4, 1993 by printing on white newsprint.

Just as an aside, I am currently writing a couple of articles for the newspaper, due to appear on March 4, 2003. The pay is not brilliant. For about 1600 words, they will pay around £450, which is taxable, but the prestige definitely makes it worthwhile.