Cupid offloads casual dating sites for £45m

Kasmira Jefford
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CUPID said it has found the perfect match for its casual dating business after agreeing yesterday to sell sites such and to Grendall Investment for £45.1m.

The online dating company said it has decided to exit the casual dating market for people looking for “flirtatious and short term fun” to focus on its niche and mainstream sites.

It said that these areas have “stronger long term potential” and made for “better quality businesses” in which to invest and that casual dating did not fit in with this strategy.

“The casual market consumer ultimately requires the potential for more adult oriented content and moving towards this end of the spectrum of dating is not a route that the company wishes to pursue,” it said in a statement.

Grendall is managed by Max Polyakov, one of Cupid’s co-founders who left the Aim-listed group last year to focus on other ventures.

The Ukrainian set up the company with Cupid’s chief executive Bill Dobbie in 2005 and continues to hold a 15 per cent stake in the business.

Cupid has also signed a software licensing agreement with Grendall that it said would generate £2m of revenue over four years.

Last year the casual dating sites, which also include CheekyLovers, and WildBuddies, generated total sales of about £51.1m. Excluding these assets, Cupid made £29.8m of sales.



Law firm Pinsent Masons’ corporate partner Anna Brown led the team advising Cupid on the £43.1m sale of its casual dating business.

Brown has a long relationship with Cupid and acted for the dating company last year when it acquired Uniform Dating for £7m after raising £3.6m in a share placing with investors.

Commenting on the sale yesterday she said: “We were delighted to advise Cupid as it seeks to grow its core business in international markets...The global market for internet dating remains significant and we are confident this disposal will help the business continue to go from strength to strength.”

Brown acts for a broad range of clients at Pinsent Masons from small technology start ups to larger public companies across sectors including energy, financial services, real estate.

She also heads up the capital markets team in Scotland and has a long track record in successfully floating companies on Aim as well as the London Stock Exchange full list.

Peel Hunt acted as nominated adviser and broker on the Cupid deal, with technology, media and telecoms director Richard Kauffer and Daniel Harris in Peel Hunt’s investment banking division leading the team.