UPDATE 1-EasyDate buys Cupid.com to kick off expansion

Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:23am EDT

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LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Online dating agency Easydate EZDE.L said it had purchased Cupid.com for 4.4 million pounds ($6.9 million) in its first acquisition since it raised 10 million pounds through an IPO on London's AIM market in June.

Edinburgh-based Easydate, whose websites include www.datetheuk.com and www.datingforparents.com, said it will now pursue more earnings enhancing acquisitions and expand its international business, which it expects will grow to become larger than its UK operations.

Easydate acquired Cupid.com, which generated revenue of 1.3 million pounds and earnings of 500,000 pounds in 2009, from OnTargetJobs, having previously operated Cupid.com outside the United States and Canada under a licence arrangement.

"The company was keen to secure full ownership of the domain both to protect its existing revenue stream and allow Easydate to own and grown Cupid.com revenues in the USA and Canada," Easydate said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company, whose websites have 13 million registered users across the world, said it expects Cupid.com to be break-even between now and the end of the year as it ramps up marketing spend on the business.

Easydate, formed in 2005 when Scottish entrepreneur Bill Dobbie teamed up with software developer Max Polyakov, made a pretax profit of 2 million pounds in the first half of 2010 compared with a 980,000 profit over the full year in 2009.

Shares in Easydate, which were placed on AIM at 60 pence per share in June, were up 0.6 percent to 91 pence at 0708 GMT, valuing the business at 72 million pounds.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Victoria Bryan)

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