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Put up or shut up, Friends Reunited tells bidders

Imposes deadline

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Divorce specialist Friends Reunited has set a deadline of next week for bidders to put their money where their mouth is.

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The website has ruled out selling to venture capitalists. It has attracted interest from at least six companies ranging from old media like News Corp to Yahoo! and eBay, according to the FT.

The paper values the firm at more than £100m and says bidders include British and American firms. The site, which puts old school friends back in touch and has been credited with breaking up several marriages, has moved into dating, jobs and genealogy websites. The firm recently appointed financial advisors Long Acre to help with a possible sale.

It expects to make a profit of £6.5m this year - less than half of it from the original site. It claims 12m registered users. Last year marriage guidance group Relate blamed it and similar sites for fuelling divorce rates.

Original founders Steve and Julie Pankhurst still own 30 per cent of the business. Their co-founder Jason Porter owns another 30 per cent. ®

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