Friday, March 2, 2012

Cupid secures Indian dating site deal

CUPID, the Edinburgh-based internet dating business, has wooedand won Indian matchmaker IndianDating.com in a deal worth $200,000(pound(s)125,000).

The AIM-listed Scottish company, previously known as Easydate,said the acquisition - announced appropriately on Valentine's Day -is part of an international expansion strategy.

IndianDating.com, which has around 600,000 members, focuses itsattentions on dating and matchmaking within the Indian community inNorth America.

The site will continue to offer the same service but will move tothe Cupid platform.

Shares in Cupid, which changed its name from Easydate last monthto avoid a dispute with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, yesterday climbed2.2%, or 2.5p, to 116.5p as news of the acquisition was revealed.

The company said the Asian Indian population in the US wassitting at around 2.6 million in 2007 and had increased at 53% since2000.

Bill Dobbie, Cupid's chief executive, said that theIndianDating.com brand offers "significant potential" for expansionas the business prepares to launch in mainland Europe and Brazilnext year.

The acquisition also represents an additional foothold in theNorth American market.

Mr Dobbie, who founded Cupid with Max Polyakov and previously co-founded and floated data storage firm Iomart, said: "As a nichesite, the domain (IndianDating.com) fits in very well with ourexisting portfolio and the acquisition represents our increasingpresence in the North American market and growing internationalfocus."

Under the terms of the agreement, the sites' former owner, whichwas not named, will provide ongoing consultancy to Cupid for severalmonths.

Cupid has expanded rapidly since its initial public offering lastsummer.

Purchases have included the $6.6m acquisition of cupid.com, inaddition to a number of dating and niche sites, includingBenaughty.com, Flirt.com, DatingForParents.com, MatureDatingUk.comand lesbian site Planetsappho.com.

The company last year paid pound(s)25,000 for Spanish languagedating site Granamor.com, which was established in 2003 and has200,000 members.

Cupid would help Easydate increase its reach in Spanish-speakingmarkets in Europe and South America, where it already operatesversions of its Cupid.com and Benaughty.com brands.

The company also runs the S1date.com website in a revenue-sharing deal with The Herald's parent company Newsquest Herald &Times.

Cupid last month announced profits would be slightly ahead ofexpectations.

The company previously issued a profit upgrade in November,leading house broker Cenkos to predict it would post pre-taxearnings of pound(s)5.3 million on a turnover of pound(s)24.9m for2010.

Cupid now boasts has more than nine million members across 29countries.

The firm is expected to announce its final results for 2010 onMarch 8.

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