A news agency that has grown from its regional beginnings to own a stable of news operations across the UK has added another acquisition to its portfolio.
SWNS, which started life as the South West News Service in Bristol, has bought the leading story-selling website and internet press agency, talktothepress.co.uk.
Founded by Natasha Courtenay-Smith in 2008, the site acts as a story broker for members of the public wishing to publicise or sell stories to the media, and advises individuals who need help handling press attention.
The business has now become part of the Bristol-based SWNS Group, which includes several news agencies across the country.
SWNS already ran a similar story-brokering website called sellusyourstory.com and the purchase of Talk to the Press will make it the biggest operator in the sector.
It also owns the PR agency 72point and regional news agencies Newsteam in Birmingham, Ross Parry in Leeds, Masons News in Cambridge, and Centre Press and Northscot in Scotland.
Martin Winter, director and news editor at SWNS, said: “This is a great acquisition for us and a perfect fit for our business.
“Our existing website has become an increasingly valuable way of generating exclusive stories and to acquire the market leader is a real coup for us.
“Natasha has done a fantastic job in setting up the business from scratch and leading the field from the start.
“We look forward to helping Talk to the Press continue to grow with the resources, distribution network and geographical spread of the SWNS Group.”
Former Daily Mail journalist Natasha set up the business in 2008 and will be leaving after a short handover to concentrate on other business interests.
She said: “I can’t think of anyone better than SWNS to take over Talk to the Press. The directors have created a hugely inspirational and innovative business and I know they will add huge value to Talk to the Press, whilst maintaining its good reputation and growing it further.’
All Talk to the Press staff have been retained and former deputy editor Georgette Culley has taken over as editor.
The business has moved into the London office of SWNS’s PR and market research operations – 72Point and OnePoll – in Clerkenwell.