The company, which publishes titles formerly owned by JPI Media such as the Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman as well as newer city and national news websites, said in a short statement on Thursday that it “notes media speculation” it may participate in the Telegraph sale process.
It said its “growth strategy is rooted in actively exploring opportunities to build its business through acquisitions and implementing its new operating model for owned assets.
“The Board continues to evaluate accretive opportunities to grow the business and will consider participating in a sale process for Telegraph Media Group as and when such a process formally commences,” it said. “There can be no certainty that an acquisition will take place nor as to the terms of such an acquisition.”
Last year National World considered buying Reach, the UK’s biggest commercial publisher and largest regional publisher, saying there would have been “considerable industrial and financial advantages to combining the newspaper portfolios of the two companies”, but said it ultimately decided the circumstances were not right.
The company has made five acquisitions in 2023: the Rotherham Advertiser, B2B publisher Insider Media, digital football publisher Scoop Dragon, video-first and World of Women’s Sport publisher News Chain, and the 155-year-old Newry Reporter newspaper in Northern Ireland.
Also on Thursday the NUJ announced it has issued ballot papers to National World journalists asking whether they are willing to take industrial action against the company over an ongoing pay dispute. The union said it is encouraging its members to vote in favour of both strike action and action short of a strike.
Last month NUJ members at National World passed a no-confidence vote in chairman David Montgomery over the company’s decision to issue its first shareholder dividend while simultaneously shedding staff through a round of compulsory redundancies.
The Telegraph and The Spectator are up for sale after effectively being repossessed by Lloyds Banking Group from the Barclay family, who had owned the titles for the past two decades.
Although the two publications are themselves profitable, with Telegraph Media Group growing profit before tax by a third to £39m last year, the Barclays reportedly owe a debt in the area of £1bn to the banking group which has grown unserviceable.
[Read more on Telegraph sale: Period media property for sale, extensively modernised – £600m ONO]
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