Infidelity website AshleyMadison.com is learning the price of indiscretion.
The Canadian website is facing collapse after hackers threatened to expose its clients and their salacious mischiefs unless it shuts itself down.
It’s the worst timing for the company that encourages people to “have an affair” because “life is short”.
Now Reuters is reporting Ashley Madison’s Canadian parent is contemplating the imponderable.
It had lined up a US$200 million listing of the website in London this year, five years after an unsuccessful attempt to sell shares at home, before the hacking.
The intruders are threatening to leak nude photos, sexual fantasies, real names and credit card information on as many as 37 million customers worldwide.
Analysts say the business model, which combines indiscretion with confidentiality, is doomed.
“The doomsday scenario for Ashley Madison is if the hackers take all the names and addresses, correlates them to real people and prints addresses and phone numbers,” a Canadian investment banker was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“That will kill it.”
With more than 37 million members worldwide, Ashley Madison claims to be the world’s second largest dating website.
Only Match.com, owned by media mogul Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActive Corp, is bigger.
Avid Life Media, the parent of Ashley Madison and websites such as Cougarlife.com and EstablishedMen.com, values itself at US$1 billion.
It reported revenue of US$115 million in 2014, up 45 percent from the preceding year.
“Of course they’re going to have to put any IPO plans on ice. It will be at least a few months before any banks would consider touching it,” said a second Canadian investment banker.
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