Car and dating sites broaden publishers’ reach

UK newspaper publishers this week announced acquisitions of several online classifieds sites in a scramble to shore up their presence in the digital advertising space.

Associated Northcliffe Digital, the online arm of the Daily Mail and General Trust’s (DMGT) national Associated Newspapers division, snapped up Allegran, owner of some of the UK’s top dating websites, and a 62.5 per cent stake in Data Media and Retail (DMR), operator of car classifieds site, in deals totalling £46.5m.

The Allegran purchase will add sites like LoopyLove and GirlsDateForFree to the Daily Mail publisher’s portfolio, which already includes the likes of Jobsite,, and Findaproperty. The DMR deal, which will include an eventual outright buyout, will give the publisher access to the company’s marketing and consumer profiling data.

Meanwhile, Trinity Mirror purchased web-based estate agent service Email4Property for £4.4 million. The publisher, which last week announced a drop in newspaper advertising revenue in every sector except property and which itself recently acquired a number of recruitment classified services, will be able to add to its local news operations listings from Email4Property’s 2,000 local property sites.

Integration of the traditional print classified revenue base is seen as increasingly important in maintaining healthy advertising performance.