An Italian investment group owned by the Agnelli family has confirmed it is in talks with Pearson PLC to increase its stake in the Economist Group.

Exor S.p.A., which has been a shareholder in the business since 2009, said the discussions also include the Economist Group's trustees, who would have to approve any sale.

Exor, which owns just under 5 percent of the Economist Group, said it would still be a minority investor. The Agnelli family is the founder of Fiat, which recently bought Chrysler.

Pearson, which owns 50 percent of the Economist Group, announced Saturday that it was in discussions to sell its stake as it moves to focus on its core education business. Last week, Pearson sold The Financial Times to Japan's Nikkei.

No financial terms were disclosed.