According to media reports, Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), the publisher behind the Daily Mail is considering selling its Metro freesheet following a decline in advertising sales and profits at the newspaper.
The publisher has appointed bankers at the boutique advisory firm Cardean Bell to explore options for the title with some city sources suggesting the sale of the newspaper could raise around £35 million.
Aside from the decline in print advertising sales, the Metro’s profits have been hit hard by the fall in the value of sterling following Brexit, which has led to an increase in imported newsprint costs.
The proposed Metro sale is thought to be led by DMGT chief executive, Paul Zwillenberg (who once roomed with Daily Mail owner Lord Rothermere at University) who insists there are ‘no sacred cows’ at the company.
While talks regarding the sale of the title are still at a very early stage, it is believed that both Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press may be interested in purchasing the newspaper.
The Metro currently enjoys a daily readership of more than three million, but it faces increased competition from online media, particularly in the mobile arena. This threat to the business will increase as Transport for London (TfL) increases mobile access on the London Underground (the main distribution network for the Metro).
Wifi was introduced to parts of the London Tube network prior to the London Olympics in 2012 but little progress has been made on the network since.
However, TfL are now making renewed efforts to increase coverage and boost 4G connectivity on the Underground.
Speaking to journalists, a spokesperson for TfL said: ‘We are keen to offer full mobile phone coverage for our customers. The introduction of this would need to be commercially viable and would follow engagement with staff and customers.’