Penthouse Media buys Various Inc.

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Penthouse Media Group Inc. has acquired Internet social networking firm Various Inc. for $500 million cash and securities. The company has a paid subscriber list of more than 1.2 million.

Lars Mapstead, VP of marketing for Palo Alto, CA-based Various, said that the merger would provide a number of audience share opportunities.

“We'll look for cross-marketing where important and see what new products we can offer,” Mapstead said. “We'll bundle, create packages where appropriate [and look to] create affinity through brands, magazines and Internet.”

No material changes to the corporate or executive structure of Various are planned, according to Mapstead.

Various Inc.'s online properties include adultfriendfinder.com, a site on which many of the 18 million members swap nude photos; FriendFinder Network Inc., a multicultural dating site; and video chat site Cams.com.

The buy is by Penthouse Media's latest move to expand as a leader in the adult entertainment industry. The company bought Danni.com and the Jill Kelly Productions library in 2006.

“It's a digital world,” Mapstead said. “We think social networking is a very important thing for us to be involved in. Adultfriendfinder.com is the largest [adult social network] in the world.”

The recent expansions for Penthouse, are a far cry from its financially woeful past. Former parent company General Media filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and the company re-emerged as Penthouse Media Group. It is owned by PET Capital Partners LLC, a unit of Marc Bell Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm based in Boca Raton, FL.

Penthouse expects the combined revenue of both companies to be $340 million in 2007.

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