Hugh also revealed in his all-staff email that The Telegraph’s reporting on the abortive Wagner rebellion in Russia on Saturday drove a marked spike in traffic and subscriptions.
The Telegraph and Spectator are due to go up for sale after Lloyds Banking Group effectively repossessed the titles’ Bermuda-based parent company from the Barclay family.
In a message seen by Press Gazette, Hugh told staff: “In my last email, I said I would update you if there were any developments regarding a potential sale of TMG.
“The new directors of TMG’s parent company are currently exploring the possibility of appointing an investment bank. No sale process has begun yet.”
Investment banks are sometimes appointed to facilitate the sale of a company for a fee.
The Barclays are reported to owe Lloyds somewhere in the region of £1bn, which the bank hopes to partially recoup through a sale. Speculative estimates for the value of The Telegraph have generally varied between £400m and £600m.
Russia reporting drives record traffic at Telegraph
Most of Hugh’s note was taken up, however, with describing an “exceptional set of numbers across almost every metric we measure” on The Telegraph’s coverage of events in Russia.
Hugh said the paper’s liveblog of the Wagner mercenary rebellion against the Moscow government on Saturday “generated more app subscriptions than any article before” as well as more Stars – The Telegraph’s unique newsroom metrics system which combines measurements including subscriber conversion and retention and the attraction of new readers.
The day of the rebellion the Telegraph notched a record 10.8 million subscriber page views, beating the previous high of 10.76 million, and a record 1.08 million subscriber visits to the app, Hugh said.
Over the week The Telegraph app had its best-ever seven day performance, drawing 23.86 million app page views – a figure Hugh said was up 10% on both the two weeks preceding.
It was also a boom period for The Telegraph’s US metrics. There were 950,000 US page views on the day of the Wagner rebellion, “around double the usual number of views and the highest in the last two years”. Its Daily Digest email to US readers also “delivered double the usual number of subscriptions” while the app saw 644,000 page views from the US across the whole week, another record.
In common with other UK news brands The Telegraph is currently on a drive to expand its prominence – and revenue – in the US.
Hugh concluded: “We remain in a very strong position and can be increasingly confident of reaching our goal of one million subscriptions in 2023.”
Hugh revealed that goal last month at the Deloitte and Enders Media and Telecoms Conference, saying: “Four or five years ago that was less than 300,000, so that’s a great number for us.”
[From the Deloitte and Enders conference: News execs fear ‘end of our business model’ from AI unless publishers ‘get control’ of their IP]
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