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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Trinity Mirror boosts online unit
Workthing website
Print publishers are hoping to take the sting out of online competition
Trinity Mirror has stepped up efforts to strengthen its position in online classified adverts by purchasing Workthing.com operator Hotgroup.

The Daily Mirror group paid 50.5m for the firm, a month after snapping up Financial Jobs Online for 10.45m.

Newspaper groups have been complaining of a downturn in advertising and buying online rivals enables them to take advantage of a potential competitor.

Johnston Press is one rival thought to have been targeting Hotgroup.

"We see exciting opportunities for the management and continued development of the Hotgroup alongside our existing recruitment advertising businesses and the acquisition is consistent with our strategy of growing Trinity Mirror's core classified franchises both on- and off-line," the publisher's chief executive, Sly Bailey, said.

'Attractive target'

Meanwhile Hotgroup said its "position of strength had clearly made it an attractive target to major players" in the industry.

The group will retain its current management structure and will be run as a separate company within Trinity Mirror.

The deal comes as UK newspaper advertising is suffering from low consumer confidence levels which are prompting companies to cut back on marketing - and as concerns mount about the health of the UK economy.

This week Johnston Press warned advertising revenues on a like-for-like basis had fallen 0.8% in the six months to 30 June from the same period last year, mainly because of a downturn in the employment category.

Such worries have sparked a rash of deals in the online classified sector, as job seekers increasingly log on to hunt for a new post.

Last week, Daily Mail & General Trust splashed out 4.1m to buy Zambeasy and Office Recruit, who control Top-Consultant.com and Officerecruit.co.uk.


SEE ALSO:
Online ad spend trumps airwaves
05 Apr 05 |  Business
eBay launches classified ad sites
09 Mar 05 |  Business
Ad spending boosts Trinity Mirror
03 Mar 05 |  Business
Mirror faces shareholder pressure
14 May 04 |  Business


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