UK: ITV sells Friends Reunited for £25 million

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Television broadcaster ITV plc has sold its social networking website Friends Reunited to Brightsold, a subsidiary of publisher DC Thomson, for £25 million (AU$50.35 million) – a £10 million increase from the £15 million prediction, according to The Guardian.

The new owners has bought all of the assets of the site, including its dating operation, genealogy assets and the social networking components to the brand. It also acquires the white-label dating services for online websites, including UK newspaper the Daily Mirror.

ITV, which also reported that it has a pre-tax loss of £105 million during the first six months of this year and is in a middle of a job hunt to fill its chief executive position, bought the website in 2005 in a deal that was worth £120 million in cash; with a further £55 million if its three-year performance-based earn-out deal were achieved, which were achieved.

The division was also the least-profitable part of the media company, which also owns Granada Productions (renamed ITV Studios) and a suite of TV channels (mainly on the digital television platform) in the UK. We previously reported that ITV put it up for sale in February.

The acquisition is under review by the competition authorities.