Media: Lifeline - Financial Times

After booming then bursting along with the dotcom bubble, the FT is finally back on track

1999: Buoyed by the dotcom boom, which has boosted not only ad revenues but circulation too, the Financial Times redesigns, then begins launching a series of new sections and supplements. The Business is the first of these, followed in 2000 by Creative Business, Inside Track and a new sports section.

2001: As the bubble bursts and ad revenue evaporates, The FT Group begins issuing a stream of profit warnings just before Christmas 2000. The paper's staff is shocked when redundancy notices are handed out to 150 employees - 15 per cent of the workforce. In July 2001, Richard Lambert, the paper's venerable editor, steps down. He is replaced by his former deputy, Andrew Gowers.

2002: With Marjorie Scardino (below), the chief executive of the FT's owner, Pearson, announcing there is no light at the end of the tunnel, the paper axes The Business. It hopes the move will save £2 million a year - Gowers says that no other supplements are threatened.

2003: But the inevitable comes to pass - the FT plunges into the red, losing £32 million during 2003. Ad revenues continue to fall (to 60 per cent below their peak in 2000) and, with redundancies widespread in the City, it is no surprise that its reader base has been diminished, so circulation continues to decline. Rumours abound that Pearson may sell.

2005: The austerity plan (a two-year freeze on lunches, taxis and foreign travel, more closures, including Creative Business) appears to have worked, as the FT announces that it finally broke even in the final quarter of 2004. It now looks forward to renewed growth, but the paper carries deep scars and a diminished reputation.

Fast forward ...

2006: As the recovery continues, Pearson, tired of the boom-bust cycle that seems endemic to the FT , decides it may consider offers for the title. Rupert Murdoch (below), who has flirted with a takeover in the past, immediately announces his interest.