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Anschutz firm buys website for $25m

EXAMINER.COM, a media company controlled by US billionaire and O2 owner Philip Anschutz, yesterday bought citizen journalist firm NowPublic in a $25m (&pound;15.3m) deal and told City A.M. it plans to launch its site in the UK in the first quarter of next year.<br /><br />Examiner.com, a citizen journalist site with over 15,000 contributors, has tripled its readership to 17m a month to become the fastest growing local news content provider in the US. It has recently been put in the spotlight after its rapid coverage of the Californian wildfires.<br /><br />The firm hopes to benefit from Nowpublic&rsquo;s innovative search and publishing technology for user-generated content. Fox News, Glam Media and Technorati and AP were all believed to be interested bidders for NowPublic after it was nominated for an Emmy Award for its real-time search engine.<br /><br />Examiner.com chief executive Rick Blair said: &ldquo;With the acquisition of NowPublic we will be able to use its technology to further engage our readership and roll out into the UK and the rest of the world.&rdquo;<br /><br />The deal signals the growing influence of citizen journalism as the world moves into a 24-hour news society, with a demand for instant news.<br /><br />Industry observer at Ariadne Capital David Scholtz said: &ldquo;At a time when news agencies are slashing jobs for on-the-ground staff, these sites provide grass roots news for the community.&rdquo; The deal also follows AOL acquiring two local start-up content sites in June and MSNBC.com, buying EveryBlock, a local citizen journalism site.