The largest genealogy web site in the U.K. has been sold to the ITV television network.
Husband-and-wife team Steve and Julie Pankhurst, along with their friend, Jason Porter, started Friends Reunited as a school reunion website business in 2000. They later added Genes Reunited which quickly grew to become the UK's biggest genealogy website. They also added an online dating service and a job listings site. Less than six years later, the trio have now sold the company for £120 million in cash (roughly $208 million in U.S. funds). Company employees are also to receive cash bonuses equal to three times their annual salaries.
Just to sweeten the pot a bit more, there is a further £50 million ($86 million U.S.) if performance targets are hit in the first three years of its acquisition.
The three founders stepped back from the day-to-day running of the company some time ago when chief executive Michael Murphy joined the company. He and his team now own about 30% of the firm while the three co-founders retained roughly 60%. Murphy and his team will remain with the company after acquisition while the three founders are expected to leave.
ITV believes Friends Reunited will tie in well with its plans to launch local TV stations.