The UK's biggest newspaper website and its fastest growing one are to merge it has been announced.
DMG Media yesterday announced the integration of Metro.co.uk and Mail Online "effective immediately".
A spokesman said: "The move will accelerate the development of Metro.co.uk and let it capitalise on Mail Online’s commercial, editorial and technical expertise, building on the fantastic momentum achieved to date. We look forward to welcoming Metro.co.uk ’s content, sales and development teams to Mail Online.”
The move follows Steve Auckland's return as Metro managing director in December, and his subsequent announcement that the free daily would be pursuing a "print-first strategy".
He told The Guardian: "There are a lot of people rushing out of print to go online. But I'm quite happy to rush into print because there's a lot of money to be made out of print, and I'll take as much as possible. And you know what – the agencies are crying out for that message. Everyone I've talked to has said it's refreshing to hear somebody who is actually willing to innovate in print."
Metro was the fastest growing UK newspaper online in January, with monthly 'unique browsers' as measured by ABC up 300 per cent year on year to 23 million a month. In the same month Mail Online hit a new high of 190 million unique browsers for the month.
Metro has a daily print circulation of 1.4m.