Cupid in £45m deal to sell sites to co-founder

Cupid chief executive Bill Dobbie
Cupid chief executive Bill Dobbie
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CUPID yesterday agreed to sell its “casual dating” business – including sites such as Benaughty.com and Flirt.com – to co-founder Max Polyakov in a deal worth £45.1m.

The Edinburgh-based firm had revealed in May that it was in talks with unnamed buyers and yesterday said the disposal would enable it to focus on its mainstream online dating sites such as Cupid.com and UniformDating.com.

Cupid chief executive Bill Dobbie described the sale as a “significant positive step” which would move it away from “areas of adult content which Cupid has tried to avoid”.

He also said the deal gives the company the potential to provide shareholders with “further returns”.

The news saw shares rise sharply to close at 84.5p, up by 12p or 16.5 per cent.

The company also provided a trading update. It said results for the first half of 2013 continue to be in line with the an update provided last month with expected revenues of £43m and adjusted EBITDA of £2.5m.

The casual dating brands being sold also include the CheekyLovers, WildBuddies, Click&Flirt and QuickFlirt sites. The division had total sales of approximately £51.1m last year, and adjusted earnings of approximately £9.7m.

Ukrainian Polyakov, who trained as a doctor, stepped down from Cupid last year to focus on other interests although he still holds around 15 per cent of the company.

The purchase of the sites is being done through an offshore company, Grendall Investment, which he manages.