Orange has acquired Ananova from the Press Association for £95 million, the companies announced yesterday.

Leeds-based Ananova launched the first digitally-rendered, fully-animated Internet newscaster last April. Soon after the launch, the Press Association decided to put the virtual newscaster and the rest of the new-media division, including its 100 employees, up for sale

The technology behind the talking head includes a search engine and entertainment listings. It also features advanced-rendering technology which makes sure Ananova doesn't laugh during a disaster story, or look too stern during a light-hearted feature.

Ananova will be a "key building block" in Orange's Internet operations worldwide, said spokeswoman Sarah Taylor. She added: "Ananova has a lot of expertise that we can use, the animated person is just a tiny fraction of what they offer.

"We want to deliver a range of Internet services, and this gives us access to their news gathering techniques. We'll be able to use and integrate all that Ananova offers."

No layoffs or staffing changes related to the acquisition are planned, Taylor said.

Next week Orange will make further announcements on acquisitions, investment stakes, and partnership agreements. The company declined to comment further on specific plans.