New chapter, old chestnut

Zanny Minton Beddoes, the editor, penned a typically lofty piece

PR consultant Brendan Bracken took umbrage at an editorial in The Economist magazine that ignored his ancestor's role in its history. Educational publisher Pearson last month sold its 50 per cent stake in the The Economist to the Agnelli family of Fiat fame and the parent group.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, the editor, penned a typically lofty piece for the magazine on the sale entitled "A new chapter". Don't worry, we'll continue to be brilliant. That sort of thing.

She said The Financial Times (also recently sold by Pearson) had owned 50 per cent since 1928 and last month's transaction was "only the second significant change of ownership" in its 172-year history. Except it wasn't.

Bracken wrote to her to say his uncle, also Brendan Bracken, a former publisher of The Economist, oversaw another transaction: "The sale in 1957 to the Cowdray family of the 50 per cent interest acquired by Bracken in 1928 on behalf of the Crosthwaite-Eyre family surely deserves to be described as significant."


“You are right that the editorial did not describe the full intricacies of the history of our ownership changes. I kept it simple in the interests of clarity,” replied Minton Beddoes in an email to Bracken. She still won’t print his letter, though.