It’s been announced today that Whatsonstage.com, the UK’s premier theatre website which you’re reading right now, has been acquired by Time Out Group, the leading source of information for arts and entertainment. The purchase is the latest step in Time Out’s rapid development as a digital media group and represents a major investment by Time Out in theatre, one of its most popular content areas. It also furthers the Group’s commitment to UK-wide coverage, which Whatsonstage.com has been providing for theatergoers for many years.

Whatsonstage.com is Time Out Group’s third acquisition in three months as part of its online growth strategy and follows the company’s recent acquisitions of daily offers business Kelkoo Select and high-end lifestyle club Keynoir.

The Whatsonstage.com website and business will be retained as a separate but complementary brand within the Time Out Group and will continue to be run by Terri Paddock, Whatsonstage.com’s managing and editorial director, who has been with the business since its launch in 1996. She and her team will be working closely with Time Out editor-in-chief Tim Arthur and UK e-commerce director Paul Shaw.

CEO of Time Out David King says: “Whatsonstage.com is an important addition to our theatre and ticket sales business, and the acquisition coincides with the recent launch of our transactional and ticketing platform.”

Whatsonstage.com’s Terri Paddock adds: “Whatsonstage.com has been serving the UK theatre industry and audience for 15 years and has always enjoyed enthusiastic support from both. We’re now thrilled to join the Time Out portfolio, a tremendously strong brand and forward-thinking, transatlantic media organisation that takes theatre as seriously as we do. The Group’s growth plans, digitally and internationally, are hugely ambitious and we’re excited to play a part in them.

“We relish the opportunity to communicate our passion for all things theatre to a much wider audience across a range of devices, and we see enormous potential in working with Time Out in growing our already successful Theatre Club, annual Whatsonstage.com Awards and other properties.”

Time Out London is already the presentation rights sponsor for the 2012 Whatsonstage.com Awards, which culminate on Sunday 19 February with a star-studded awards ceremony and concert at the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre.