The UK’s biggest news agency group SWNS has bought story-broking website Talk To The Press.
It is the latest in a series of deals which has seen SWNS (originally South West News Service) grow from its Bristol base to include Newsteam in Birmingham, Ross Parry in Leeds, Masons News in Cambridge and Centre Press and Northscot in Scotland.
Talk to The Press was founded by Natasha Courtenay-Smith (pictured above) in 2008 and acts as a go-between for members of the public wishing to sell stories to the media (sharing the proceeds).
SWNS also runs the rival website Sell Us Your Story.
Director and news editor of SWNS Martin Winter 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."
Courtenay-Smith, who formerly worked as a writer at the Daily Mail, will leave the after a short handover to concentrate on other business interests. She founded the agency after going freelance as way to ensure her income wasn't affected by the economic downturn.
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 three 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.
SWNS is owned by Andrew Young, Paul Walters and Martin Winter.