Summary:

The network the UK newspaper business set up, in the web’s early days, to share the nascent online classified ads business will now be the p…

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The network the UK newspaper business set up, in the web’s early days, to share the nascent online classified ads business will now be the preserve of just one of those firms (announcement).

Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) is buying out Newsquest’s 50 percent share in Fish4, which was established in 1999 by Newsquest, Northcliffe, Trinity Mirror, Regional Independent Media, Bristol United Press and GMG Regional Media.

Trinity says: “Fish4 will sit alongside the brands in the Trinity Mirror digital classified portfolio including GAAPweb, totallylegal, SecsInTheCity and SmartNewHomes.”

Fish4 now takes 3.3 million job seekers per month but, by July 2008, it had become a 50/50 JV with Trinity Mirror and Newsquest.

Trinity Mirror’s group digital publishing director David Black: “Fish4 is an excellent addition to our digital portfolio. The acquisition demonstrates continued progress with our strategy of building a growing digital business of scale, and increasing our share of the online recruitment market.”

Digital recruitment and property MD Paul Haliwell: “We have ambitious plans for the future of the Fish4 business. Fish4 is a strong brand, to which we will add considerable value for advertisers and consumers alike through our digital recruitment and classifieds expertise.”

The breadth of Trinity Mirror’s web classifieds reach is considerable, after several years of acquisitions in key classified target verticals. It’s these niche sites (for homes, cars, jobs), both Trinity’s and those owned by others, which seem to have overtaken Fish4 in recent years, though the brand retains strength. The task of unification would be considerable and, perhaps, quite necessary.

Though Fish4 includes dating classifieds, Trinity Mirror is outsourcing its dating provision to WhiteLabelDating, the vendor says: “New sites have now been launched for MirrorDating.co.uk, SundayMailDating.co.uk, PeopleDate.co.uk, and DailyRecordDating.co.uk, also launching 59 regional sites including ChronicleLive.co.uk/dating and LiverpoolEcho.co.uk/dating.”

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