UK publisher Associated Newspapers has paid £46.5 million ($86.4m; €68m) for two British companies which run internet dating and consumer websites.

The newspaper division of the Daily Mail & General Trust, which owns the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Ireland on Sunday among others, will take control of online dating specialists Allegran.

Associated has also acquired Data Media and Retail, which was founded in 1995 and provides online information on everything from the motor trade to credit cards, as well as running web-based prize draws and surveys.

The newspaper publisher's move into the online market is seen as a response to the general decline in newspaper circulation in the UK, and to the pressure on print advertising from the internet.

The UK's biggest newspaper owner Trinity Mirror paid £50m for online recruitment firm the hotgroup last September, and also acquired graduate recruitment site and property site in 2005.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff