Adultery site eyes IPO in 'liberal' Europe
AshleyMadison.com, a dating website for cheating spouses, wants to hook up with investors by pursuing an initial public offering in London this year.
The site's parent company, which failed with a previous IPO attempt in Canada, said yesterday it is looking to raise as much as $200m (€185m) to exploit booming demand for its services.
AshleyMadison had sales of $115m last year, an almost fourfold increase on 2009, Christoph Kraemer, its head of international relations, said in an interview.
It makes money by charging men for credits, which they then use for introductions to women.
Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based holding company that runs AshleyMadison.com along with peers Cougarlife.com and EstablishedMen.com, wants the new funds for marketing and international expansion.
AshleyMadison has 36 million members in 46 countries, Mr Kraemer said, and claims to be the world's second-largest paid-for internet dating website, behind Match.com.
While the US accounts for about 50pc of its business, Mr Kraemer said "Europe is the only region where we have a real chance of doing an IPO" because of its more liberal attitude toward adultery. "We're no longer a niche, but it's been difficult in North America to find the support to go public," he added.
The company has also set a target that 50-60pc of its sales will come from Asia by 2020, including Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
Avid Life Media, whose investors are wealthy North Americans who prefer to remain anonymous, registered 45pc sales growth last year and a profit margin between 20pc and 25pc, according to Kraemer, who said the company estimates its value at $1bn.
A previous effort to float the company in Toronto failed.