Hall overseas PA buyout of Central Press Features

Hall: aiming to be the best

The Press Association has reached an agreement to buy Bristol-based Central Press Features from Northcliffe Newspapers. Central Press’s 40 staff will all be joining PA.

It is the first big deal netted by former Hello! and News of the World editor Phil Hall since he joined PA as  managing director of its contract publishing division. It is expected to be completed on 4 December.

Central Press, which at 139 years old predates PA by five years, syndicates feature material – including crosswords, quizzes, puzzles, cartoons, health, motoring and similar material – to UK and international newspapers and magazines.

PA said its decision to buy the company was "another important step in the development of PA’s contract publishing and syndication businesses".  While Central Press Features will continue to operate as a separate company, its portfolio will complement the output of PA’s feature services, much of which is more immediate.

PA has agreed a three-year lease on the premises in Bristol and Eric Rayner remains as Central Press managing director.

Hall said: "The proliferation of new magazines means there is a massive growth in the feature market and PA aims to be the best supplier of features in the business."

PA is organising a survey to clarify what material its customers want.

"We are planning to improve our celebrity features service too, pitching more reporters on to the celebrity beat, supplying interviews and stories from at home and abroad via our Los Angeles and New York bureaux."

By Jean Morgan

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