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|Founded||March 8, 1954|
|Defunct||January 1, 2021|
|Fate||Absorbed by Cision Inc.|
350 Hudson Street, Suite 300 New York City, New York,
United States 10014-4504
|Parent||Western Union (1971-1982)|
United Newspapers (1982-2015)
Cision (since 2015)
PR Newswire was a distributor of press releases headquartered in New York City. The service was created in 1954 to allow companies to electronically send press releases to news organizations, at first using teleprinters. The founder, Herbert Muschel, operated the service from his house in Manhattan for approximately 15 years. The business was eventually sold to Western Union and then United Newspapers of London. In December 2015, Cision Inc. announced it would acquire the company. On January 1, 2021, Cision formally merged PR Newswire into the company, ending its status as a legal entity after 66 years. Cision plans to continue utilizing the brand name for the foreseeable future in the United States, as well as in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions.
PR Newswire was founded in March 1954. In 1971, it was sold to Western Union, which had provided the telecommunications lines and teleprinters that supported the service. In 1977, PR Newswire began using electronic terminals for copy editing.
In 2000 the company acquired eWatch, founded in 1995 as an automated service to monitor websites, chat rooms, Usenet groups, web publications, online service forums and investor message boards for mentions of a specific organization, issue, product or service. In 2001, PR Newswire issued a multimedia news release for Touchstone Pictures promoting the film Pearl Harbor, which included b-roll, soundbites, high resolution images, and film trailer. On April 17, 2007, PR Newswire acquired Vintage Filings.
In December 2008, PR Newswire moved its New York City corporate headquarters from Midtown Manhattan to Lower Manhattan, at 350 Hudson Street. In mid-2009, PR Newswire acquired The Fuel Team. The largest competitor to PR Newswire is Business Wire, as of 2014 and PR News Journal as of 2018. On December 15, 2015, PR Newswire was sold to global media intelligence company, Cision, for $841 million. The transaction, which required approval by the shareholders of UBM plc as well as regulatory approvals, was expected to close late in the first quarter of 2016. As of June 2016 (closing date of the deal) it became a subsidiary of Cision. As of 2013, the PR newswire database included 10,700 syndicated websites and had 800,000 journalists and influencers in its network.
In the 2010s, PR Newswire and its competitor Business Wire were the target of extensive successful attacks by Ukrainian hackers, who accessed not yet published press releases to enable insider trading. According to the FBI, the case was the world's largest known computer hacking and securities fraud, with profits exceeding $100 million in those trades that were made public by the SEC alone, but believed to be vastly higher than that by the authorities.
In 2021, there are unconfirmed reports that parent company Cision are looking to spin off PR Newswire driven by Cision-majority owner Platinum Equity.