It was founded as the London Financial Guide in January 1888, but switched to its current name just five weeks later. Its famous salmon-pink colour (which has been adopted overseas by several other newspapers with an economic focus) was adopted in 1893, simply because at the time the salmon-pink newsprint was cheaper than white. It remains one of very few daily broadsheets in the United Kingdom.
It merged with its rival, the slightly older Financial News (first published in 1884), in 1945. Its publishing company The Financial Times Ltd was acquired in 1957 by international media group Pearson plc, who also own the well-known book publishers Penguin.
It’s very much an international paper; it started publishing in Frankfurt in January 1979 and now has five editions printed in over 20 cities, of which all but two are outside the UK:
- UK and Eire
- Middle East
International sales outstripped UK sales for the first time in 1998.
It’s pretty much neutral politically. Its economic focus means it’s seen to be the paper of business and entrepreneurship and thus to have a slight bias to the right; in the 2010 general election it supported the Conservatives, albeit with some misgivings. Nevertheless its factual, non-partisan reporting of political events and its pro-Europe editorial stance (together with a perceived shift towards Labour in the long term – it supported Labour to win the 1992 election, for instance) mean that it’s popular with readers from across the political spectrum.
A German-language sister title called FT Deutschland, a joint venture with Gruner + Jahr, was launched in 2000.
It was the first British newspaper to have a paywall in place, predating The Times. However, its paywall is set a little lower; casual visitors may read one article in 30 days, after which they’ll be asked to register free of charge (which allows access to up to 8 articles in 30 days) or pay to subscribe (which allows full access).
An e-edition’s also available (by premium paid subscription), as are a variety of mobile apps.