Friend Finder Networks

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Friend Finder Networks Inc.
Industry Online dating, adult entertainment
Predecessor Penthouse Media Group
Founder Andrew Conru
Headquarters Boca Raton, Florida,, United States
Key people
Andrew Conru, CEO[1]
Website www.ffn.com

Friend Finder Networks (formerly Various, Inc.) is an American internet company founded in 1996 by Andrew Conru. Its corporate headquarters are located in Boca Raton, Florida, with additional offices in California, New York, and Taiwan.[2]

The company primarily deals in adult entertainment, online dating, and social networking services. Its flagship online dating services include FriendFinder and its various spin-off services (such as Adult FriendFinder, and other dating services targeting various territories and niche categories, such as the South America-focused Amigos.com, and Christian dating website BigChurch), as well as niche websites for alternative lifestyles, and adult webcam websites.[3] In 2007, the company was acquired by the owners of Penthouse magazine, and adopted its current name. In 2016, the Penthouse brand was sold off.

History[edit]

FriendFinder was launched in 1996 by Andrew Conru. After discovering that users had been using the service to seek sexual partners, he launched Adult FriendFinder as a spin-off, followed later by other spin-offs dealing with different regions and niches. Much of the company's growth without investment capital has been attributed to its affiliate program, with more than 500,000 affiliates to date.[4]

In 2007, Penthouse Media Group purchased FriendFinder's parent company, Various, Inc., for $500 million.[5] Penthouse later changed its name to FriendFinder Networks.[6]

In 2008, the company filed for a $460 million initial public offering.[7] Most of the money generated was to pay down $420.1 million in short-term debt and other obligations.[8]

As of January 17, 2010, FriendFinder Networks had a negative net worth equal to $118 million, $32 million in cash on hand and $650 million in liabilities. The company had also indicated that it lacked existing cash or cash from operations to repay a $44.5 million debt that was due July 31. It has cautioned that, unless it can repay or restructure its obligation, it will face “a material deficiency in our short term liquidity.[9]” With these shortfalls in mind, the company again announced an intention to make an initial public offering of stock, representing a 49% stake in the company, with plans to use the proceeds to pay down its debt and become listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The contemplated public offering, scheduled to reach the market on January 27, 2010 was delayed by FFN.[10] On February 5, 2010, FFN announced its intention to indefinitely delay its contemplated IPO until market conditions improve.[11]

In June 2010, FriendFinder Networks made a $210 million bid to acquire Playboy Enterprises.[12] Hugh Hefner, who owned 70 percent of the voting stock, did not want to sell.[13]

Bankruptcy, reorganization[edit]

In August 2013, FriendFinder was delisted from the NASDAQ because its stock had not traded for more than $1. On September 16, 2013, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[14]

FriendFinder had not turned a net profit since at least 2008. Ezra Shashoua, the company's chief financial officer, blamed the lower revenue on a drop in membership and increased advertising costs for affiliates, according to court documents. Shashoua also said credit card companies had refused to process transactions for the company's Internet businesses.[15] The company stated it had negotiated a deal with noteholders that would reduce its debt by $300 million.[16]

In December 2013, FriendFinder Networks' reorganization plan won court approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.[17] Founder Andrew Conru, was named as the reorganized company's chairman and CEO.[18]

In February 2016, FriendFinder Networks sold the rights to the Penthouse brand to Penthouse Global Media, a new company formed by the brand's managing director Kelly Holland.[19][20]

Security breach[edit]

On November 13, 2016, it was reported that a database of over 412 million accounts, including usernames, e-mails, and passwords, had been breached and leaked from several FriendFinder Networks websites. The breach included account data from Adult FriendFinder (which constituted over 339 million accounts), Cams.com, and Penthouse, including accounts that had supposedly been deleted. The passwords were either stored as plain text or encrypted using the obsolete and insecure SHA-1 cipher.[21][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bachman, Justin. "When Sex Doesn't Sell: FriendFinder Networks Files for Bankruptcy". Business Week. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "AMENDMENT NO. 2 TO FORM S-1". SEC. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  3. ^ "Form 10-K". FriendFinder Networks Inc. Securities and Exchange Commission. 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  4. ^ Stein, Joel (2007-03-30). "Social networking's dirty side - April 1, 2007". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  5. ^ Martin, Andrew (2007-12-12). "Penthouse Buys Group of Social-Networking Sites". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  6. ^ Pfeifer, Stuart (2013-09-17). "Penthouse publisher FriendFinder files for bankruptcy protection - Los Angeles Times". Latimes.com. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  7. ^ Wahba, Phil (2008-12-23). "UPDATE 1-FriendFinder files for $460 million IPO". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  8. ^ Dec 24, 2008 (2008-12-24). "The FriendFinder IPO Filing: Just the Naughty Bits". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  9. ^ "Two words, lads: Penthouse IPO | Crain's New York Business". Crain's New York. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  10. ^ "FriendFinder Networks Said to Delay IPO to Next Week (Update3)". Bloomberg. January 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ Gillian Reagan (2010-02-05). "Crashing Markets Delay FriendFinder's Porn IPO". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  12. ^ Vanacore, Andrew (2010-07-16). "Penthouse owner makes competing bid for Playboy". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  13. ^ Andrew Vanacore (2010-07-15). "Penthouse Owner Bids For Playboy". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  14. ^ Pfeifer, Stuart (September 17, 2013). "Penthouse magazine owner files for bankruptcy". LA Times. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  15. ^ Beaudette, Marie (2013-09-17). "Penthouse Publisher FriendFinder Files for Bankruptcy Protection - WSJ". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  16. ^ "UPDATE 2-Penthouse publisher FriendFinder files for bankruptcy". Reuters. 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  17. ^ Bathon, Michael (2013-12-16). "FriendFinder Alters Reorganization Plan to Win Court OK". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  18. ^ Andrew B. Conru Ph.D. "Andrew Conru: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  19. ^ a b "AdultFriendFinder network hack exposes 412 million accounts". ZDNet. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  20. ^ "Penthouse Wants You To Reclaim Your Vagina". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "Over 300 million AdultFriendFinder accounts have been exposed in a massive breach". The Verge. Retrieved 13 November 2016. 

External links[edit]