News agency SWNS has taken over another rival organisation, taking its editorial staff count to nearly 100.
The company, formerly known as South West News Service, has acquired London-based National News.
The business also incorporates News Team International in Birmingham, Ross Parry in Leeds, Masons News in Cambridge, and HE Media in Scotland. The SWNS Group also includes story broker Talk To The Press, PR company 72Point, market researcher OnePoll.com and TV production unit Oblong Films. In addition, it is a co-founder of local TV station Made in Bristol and it syndicates content from publishing groups including Local World, Johnston Press and the Kent Messenger Group.
Around a quarter of the company's editorial staff will now be based in London. Overall, SWNS employs around 25 photographers, 50 reporters and a number of other editorial staff bringing the headcount to close to 100.
National News directors Mike Doran and Jim Leffman will remain with the business.
They said in a statement: "National News has been at the centre of news gathering in London for the last 30 years and by joining SWNS we hope we will be able to fill a gap in their extensive coverage of the UK.
“Despite the changes in the news landscape SWNS is still dedicated to going out and doing real 'face-to-face' journalism, something we both recognise as being vital to the continued health of the industry."
SWNS has also today announced the launch of a Parliamentary unit, headed up by former Newsquest lobby correspondent Rob Merrick.
The agency has also taken on former Sunday Mirror news editor and Daily Mirror district reporter Euan Stretch as a news editor at its headquarters in Bristol.
Press Association's former head of video Isabelle Potts, meanwhile, is to head up the agency's "growing video output".
On the National News takeover, Andy Young, director and group editor of SWNS, said: “Our businesses share a passion for real journalism – having boots on the ground to cover breaking news, court cases and amazing human interest stories.
“SWNS has enjoyed phenomenal growth in a difficult market and this is a really exciting time for the business as the digital market becomes more established.”
SWNS, which is owned by directors Young, Paul Walters and Martin Winter, opened its first satellite office in Plymouth in 2005.
Co-director Walters said: “Having National on board extends our reach in line with our expansion plans and enables us to maximise our content on all fronts.
”And bringing in talent such as Euan, Issy and Rob underlines our intention to continue growing and supplying the market with what it wants – great words, pictures and video.”