Pornhub Acquired by Private Equity Shop with Mostly Female Advisory Board

Posted on: March 17, 2023, 05:12h. 

Last updated on: March 17, 2023, 12:50h.

Canadian private equity shop Ethical Capital Partners has made its first deal, announcing the acquisition of Pornhub owner MindGeek.

The Pornhub logo. The adult entertainment site, which includes an internet casino, is being acquired by a private equity firm. (Image: The Daily Beast)

Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. Luxembourg-based MindGeek is privately held, and Pornhub has an estimated value of $1.5 billion. The company owns other adult entertainment web properties, including YouPorn, Redtube, Brazzers, Sean Cody, Trans Angels, and Nutaku.

Owing to the private equity firm’s name and MindGeek’s primary line of business, some internet ribbing arrived upon news of the deal. That doesn’t appear to be lost on Ethical Capital, which says it takes seriously the legal and regulatory obligations that come along with owning an adult entertainment asset.

We will be engaging with stakeholders, including content creators, governments and industry to address the misalignment between how MindGeek operates and what the public perceives about this industry and these platforms,” said Ethical Capital founding partner Sarah Bain in a statement. “We will work with the team to ensure their commitment to trust and safety is communicated clearly with all stakeholders and the public.”

Interestingly, five of the six advisory board members at Montreal-based Ethical Capital are women. The other is Dr. Val Webber, who uses they/them pronouns.

Pornhub Gaming Angles

There have long been links between the adult entertainment and casino gaming industries — some direct, others indirect.

For its part, Pornhub has interesting gaming exposure. According to the internet, it features some casino-themed videos. It also runs a Curacao-based casino with traditional table games, and slots featuring scantily clad and nude dealers.

“We’re always working towards adding more features [to] online casino games that will keep your love for live casino. To make gambling with us even more memorable, we also offer frequent casino bonuses, cash back, and deposit bonuses for all our online casino games. We’ll have a whole new round of [the] biggest stars joining the casino as dealers,” according to the operator.

Ethical Capital doesn’t mention plans to pursue more direct investments in the casino gaming industry. But there are long-running ties between that group and the private equity universe.

Other Ethical Capital, Pornhub Synergies

Members of Ethical Capital’s advisory board have ties to the adult entertainment industry, indicating the private equity firm has the resources necessary to keep it straight and narrow regarding compliance and regulatory issues.

For example, the aforementioned Webber has over 15 years of experience in the sexual health field and sex worker advocacy.

Maggie MacDonald, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, is researching “transformations in pornography brought about through platforms, documenting changing dynamics around technology, labor, governance and cultural production in the porn industry,” according to Ethical Capital.

The private equity firm, which highlights a focus on ethics-first investing, doesn’t mention how much capital it has on hand, or when the acquisition of the Pornhub parent will close.

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