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ITV swallows Friends Reunited

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Friends Reunited has been flogged. As widely expected, the reunion web site has been swallowed by ITV for £120m in cash and paper. A further £55m is payable if the operation hits certain numbers in 2009.

For broadcaster ITV, the acquisition of Friends Reunited gives it the chance to generate content online which, in turn, will help attract much needed advertising bucks.

Jeff Henry, director of ITV Consumer said: "The acquisition of Friends Reunited is also a key step in the delivery of our strategy to drive new revenue streams for the company.

"I am confident that Friends Reunited's unique sites and comprehensive subscription base, combined with ITV's services and vast range of content will prove both compelling and profitable."

Friends Reunited was launched in July 2000 in the back bedroom of founders Steve and Julie Pankhurst. Since then it has grown into a massive operation with five key content areas including school reunions, dating and genealogy. It has some 15m registered users in the UK and more than one million paying punters.

Friends Reunited is forecast to generate £12.4m in revenues this year with EBITDA (earnings before interest etc) of £6.6m. ®

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