FriendFinder Networks, Owner of Penthouse Magazine, Has Disappointing IPO | Adweek FriendFinder Networks, Owner of Penthouse Magazine, Has Disappointing IPO | Adweek
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FriendFinder Gets No Love From Wall Street

Owner of Penthouse magazine has flaccid IPO

Source: AFP/Getty Images

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Despite offering some fairly steamy content, the company that owns Penthouse magazine failed to generate much heat at its initial public offering yesterday. 

FriendFinder Network's stock opened at $10 a share on the Nasdaq, right in line with expectations but was unable to get it up above that. Toward the end of the day, the price had drooped 21 percent, according to the Associated Press.

The Boca Raton-based company's flagship website is the casual hookup network AdultFriendFinder.com—which promises its members "Real People, Real Sex." It sells porn at its Penthouse.com and HotBox.com sites. It also runs the kink property Bondage.com and, curiously, the Christian dating site BigChurch.com. 

The company did sell 5 million shares of stock at the low end of its expected $10 to $12 price range yesterday—its flaccid performance barely enough to put a dent in the massive $510 million debt FriendFinder is saddled with.

The Florida-based company has attempted to hop on the social networking bandwagon, pitching itself as a "social networking and video sharing" company. But this isn't the first time Wall Street has  spurned the smut peddler's advances. The company's last attempt at an IPO was canceled in February 2010. In 2008, FriendFinder announced plans for an offering of up to $460 million, according to the AP.

FriendFinder claims that paid subscribers reached 928,314 at the end of 2010 (up 1.3 percent for the year). In 2010, its net revenue rose 5.6 percent to $346 million—still a net loss of $43 million, compared with a loss of $41 million a year earlier. 

Beyond money woes, FriendFinder is being sued by Facebook, which has taken exception to FriendFinder's FacebookofSex.com site. Facebook filed a federal trademark infringement suit last month. And despite claims that it will fight the suit, FriendFinder has taken down the FacebookofSex site.

When a company that's all about arranging hookups for its customers can't score one of its own, perhaps it's just about time to hit the showers. Make it a cold one.