The Economist Group could become the latest British media business to undergo a change of ownership this year as its co-owner Pearson focuses on education, bankers and industry sources said.

The company, whose weekly magazine was first published in 1843, is partly held by Pearson via the Financial Times, which is now in the process of being sold to Japan's Nikkei.

But Pearson has retained control of its 50 percent stake in The Economist Group despite pledges to exit the news industry and fully focus on education.