Archant completes takeover of planning application site in bid to expand reach beyond local news

Regional media group Archant has bought the remaining equity in a planning application in a move to broaden its portfolio beyond local journalism.

The purchase of PlanningFinder.com is also a sign of Archant's desire to increase its investment in technology products.

Launched in 2010, the site collects the details of commercial and domestic planning applications from across the UK. Archant already held a majority equity stake in the online business.

Archant, which publishes 65 regional titles, yesterday announced operating profits up 80.9 per cent year on year following substantial cost cutting.

PlanningFinder.com will be owned by Archant Digital Ventures, the group's digital arm, which focuses on investment in new technology solutions. Its development team recently revamped the site's platform to expand its level of coverage across all local authorities, as well as bring in the services of commercial partners and advertisers. The Archant Digital Ventures portfolio currently holds four businesses, and is pursuing further investment opportunities

Managing Director of Archant Digital Ventures, Serge Taborin, said: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of PlanningFinder.com and see it as a valuable asset in our strategy aimed at extending the relationship with our local communities, be they private, public or commercial.”

“Complementing other local digital assets in our portfolio, including our own local news sites, community-driven website Streetlife.com and several other locally-focused services, PlanningFinder.com is an important addition to this digital ecosystem, keeping our communities appraised of the proposed changes in their locality. Just as importantly, this innovative approach is also helping Councils raise awarness [sic] of their notices early in the process, minimising the possibility of time-consuming and costly complaints later.” 

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