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Local press online BMDs platform sold to US firm

A web business which powered the online family notices platform for hundreds of local newspapers has been sold to a US-based rival in a cash deal. was founded by former Daily Telegraph journalist Alex Stitt in 2006 and later provided the online births, deaths and marriages announcements platform for Johnston Press titles.

In 2010, it bought out rival site Lasting Tribute, which had provided the online obituaries platform for Northcliffe Media-owned newspapers.

Now it has itself been bought by US-based, the world market leader in the so-called “virtual graveyard” field.

The terms of the acquisition have not been revealed but the cash sum paid is likely to have been in excess of £1m.

Martin Bryant, managing editor of specialist digital media site The Next Web,  wrote: “Stitt tells me that iAnnounce is ‘a successful fast-growing international business that has been profitable for 5 years,’ which suggest that this was more than a cut-price sell off of a customer database.”

The newly-combined company will provide the BMD platform for more than 1,300 newspapers in the US, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and give a foothold in the European market it has long sought.

The iAnnounce platform will remain available, with iAnnounce newspaper partners now having access to additional features and functions currently available through chief executive Stopher Bartol said: “We’ve been very impressed with the iAnnounce platform and the company’s ability to expand internationally.

“We are thrilled to be working with Alex and his team and to welcome their affiliates into the network. Customers of both and iAnnounce will be the winners from this merger.”

Added Alex: “Our newspaper partners across Europe will enjoy access to new opportunities to serve readers and create value. brings over a decade of innovation in the online obituary category.

“My team is thrilled to join the team at, and we are going to work together to ensure that the Family Notices category has a bright future full of value-adding innovation and stringent customer care.”

At the time of the Lasting Tribute sale, its then owner A&N Media took an 8pc shareholding in the newly-enlarged iAnnounce.

This shareholding has also been purchased by as part of the deal.

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