Penthouse Porn IPO to Pay for Adult FriendFinder Founder's Car

Andrew Conru, a geeky mechanical engineer turned porn baron who founded one of the Web's raciest personals site, made out well when Penthouse bought Adult FriendFinder. He even unloaded a $125,000 car on the operation.

Such are the kind of details emerging from FriendFinder Networks's S-1 filing. The disclosure, a precursor to an initial public offering, shows a business far less sexy than its brands would suggest.

Penthouse Media Group bought Various Inc. from Conru last year for $500 million, and assumed the name of its best-known website. Dropping "Penthouse" makes financial sense; Internet revenues from Adult FriendFinder and other websites account for most of the combined company's revenues. The company, which borrowed heavily to buy Conru's company, owes $420 million; the IPO would raise $460 million, most of which would go to pay off that debt. It is possible FriendFinder's lenders might foreclose on the company before it manages to go public.

Conru, at least, seems well taken care of. FriendFinder even bought a car from him for $125,000. The business rationale for the purchase was never explained. The vehicle is now worth $95,000. Who will make up that loss? FriendFinder's prospective investors. A bizarre twist to a bizarre startup saga: Isn't the sale of a company the moment when a founder goes out and buys an expensive car?