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FriendsReunited in sale talks

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Reunion website FriendsReunited is in talks which could lead to its sale.

The company is talking to at least five firms about its future.

Michael Murphy, CEO of Friends Reunited said: “Profits are expected to be £6.5 million for 2005 and over £8 million in 06.

“As a result of this performance and the Group’s prospects, we can confirm that the company has recently received a number of credible approaches from large media groups and internet players.

A spokeswoman for the company confirmed it is talking to at least five possible bidders.

Friends Reunited has appointed financial advisors Long Acre to help with negotiations. Talks could lead to an outright sale or the sale of a significant stake in the business.

The site claims 12m members. It was started by Steve and Julie Pankhurst in a spare bedroom in 2000 and quickly became very popular. They still own 30 per cent of the business, which the Times estimates could be worth £120m.

Last year marriage guidance group Relate blamed it, and similar sites, for fuelling divorce by making it easier for people to get in touch with old flames.

The site has become a first stop for journalists seeking background information on the newly-famous. And the police have found it useful too - a man from Teeseide was convicted of drug offences after bragging to old school mates about how much cash he was making selling cocaine.

Alongside its school reunion site the company has opened dating, geneaology and jobs sites.®

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