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Private Equity


Internet dating has become big business, worth GBP 2bn a year globally and GBP 300m in the UK alone, according to statistics collected by the Online Dating Association.

With almost a quarter of new relationships started online, it is little surprise that the most successful sites are now changing hands for significant sums of money.

Listed private equity firm Oakley Capital secured a EUR 129m boost for its investors after selling a controlling stake in Parship Elite, one of Europe’s biggest matchmaking and online dating websites, to listed media company ProSiebenSat.1.

This represents an impressive internal rate of return (IRR) of 150% for Oakley, which acquired the company in 2014. It will retain a significant minority stake in the business, with the combined company valued at around EUR 300m.

CMS teams in London, Cologne and Brussels advised on the deal, which was the second significant transaction we have worked on involving Oakley and ProSiebenSat.1 in the past two years. In 2015, CMS advised Oakley on the
EUR 170m sale of an 80% stake in energy price comparison site Verivox to ProSiebenSat.1.

The deals represent a very positive result for Oakley, both in terms of cash returns and the fact that they retained minority stakes and can share in future growth.
Martin Treagus, Partner, CMS London

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