Penthouse Publisher Files for Bankruptcy

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PENTHOUSE Bob GUCCIONE
Richard Drew/APPenthouse founder and publisher Bob Guccione, shown in 1986.
By Andrew Berry

FriendFinder Networks, publisher of Penthouse and owner of numerous adult websites, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to Reuters, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company hasn't made a net profit since at least 2008.

Reuters reports that the company has reached an agreement with shareholders which will reduce its debt by $300 million if approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware.

"The agreement with the overwhelming majority of our noteholders will allow FriendFinder Networks to refinance our long-term debt, permit us to reinvest in our business, and position some of the strongest brands in the market for additional growth," Anthony Previte, chief executive officer of FriendFinder Networks, said in a press release. "The agreement comes at a time when our flagship brands are continuing to perform well and the operational efficiencies we previously put in place are taking hold."

A group of shareholders including Andrew Conru and Lars Mapstead -- who sold a number of websites to FriendFinder in 2007 -- will likely gain control of the company as part of the new plan, according to Reuters.


FriendFinder Networks owns AdultFriendFinder.com, PerfectMatch.com, BigChurch.com, GetItOn.com, Cams.com and other sites in a massive, international network of more than 8,000 websites with 220 million members and 750,000 subscribers, Reuters reports.

While those numbers would seem to translate into good business, Reuters says that isn't the case. The company's total revenue for the year ending June 30 was $293.70 million, down 10 percent from last year. Revenue from their various social networking sites dropped by 17.6 percent. Revenue from live interactive video went up by 7.8 percent.

According to Bloomberg, the company had an outstanding principal debt of $544 million as of March 31.

"The Chapter 11 filing is the most efficient and cost-effective way for the Company to implement the Transaction Support Agreement while continuing to operate our business," Previte said. "All operations will continue as normal throughout this process. Importantly, nothing about the user experience is going to change and we anticipate that all of our affiliates will continue to be paid in the ordinary course of business during the Chapter 11 process."

According to Reuters, FriendFinder was formed by Marc Bell and Daniel Staton after the company acquired out of bankruptcy the publisher of Penthouse in 2003.


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