Match made for dating companies

The founders of have exited from their business in a deal worth £27.3m.

The Birmingham-based company and its sister company Chemistry have been sold to Meetic, one of the biggest players in the industry.

DatingDirect, founded in 1999 by Darren Richards and Andrew Pike, has attracted over 4.5m members since that time, the majority of which are in the UK.

Revenues for 2006 were around £11m and Richards, the company’s chief executive, predicts that the business will continue to grow as a part of Meetic.

He said: “This is an exciting time in the online dating market, and we are pleased that is about to join forces with Europe’s leading online dating business.

“We are confident that will continue to go from strength to strength under the ownership of Meetic, who are able to provide the experience and resources required to consolidate DatingDirect’s position as market leader.”

Its buyer, Meetic, based in France in 2001, has grown into one of Europe’s largest dating services and offers in services in 13 European countries as well as in China and Brazil.

Meetic has more than 25m registered members and the buy-out provides the quoted-company with a much desired entry into the UK market.

Mark Simoncini, chief executive of Meetic, said: “The forthcoming acquisition of DatingDirect will enable us to play a major role in the British market, one of the most expensive in the world in terms of media purchasing, without having to launch a major marketing campaign for a new brand.

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“Due to this acquisition, in less than five years we will have conquered the number one position in most of the international markets in which we operate.

“The optimisation of our European traffic and the signing of new distribution contracts, combined with the new offers that will be deployed simultaneously with the new 2.0 version of Meetic, should enable us to increase, from 2007, our sources of revenue and hence increase our investment possibilities in new countries or on new continents where we do not yet have a presence.”

Clearwater Corporate Finance has acted as matchmaker for the two parties and has taken legal advice from HBJ Gateley Wareing

The deal is expected to be formally completed later this month.

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006


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