ITV has sold Friends Reunited for £25m to publisher Brightsolid Limited, after buying the pioneering social network for a total of £175m back in 2005. Brightsolid is owned by DC Thomson, Dundee-based publisher of comics such as the Beano. Friends Reunited will become part of Brightsolid’s publishing portfolio, which includes a good match in findmypast.com, which operates the official 1901 and 1911 census websites.
Brightsolid, plans to integrate Friends Reunited’s social networking, dating and genealogy operations with its own businesses. Friends Reunited has traditionally attracted an older demographic that has the potential to fit in with the generally older users of Find My Past. ITV made a pre-tax loss of £105m in the first 6 months of 2009, and is yet to announce a replacement for boss Michael Grade, who is due to stand down at the end of the year. ITV’s advertising revenues fell by 15%, which was slightly better than the 17% fall in the overall market.