Online dating services get hitched

Combined the companies have three million users with operations in several countries, MatchNet said in a statement. The company would not give the value of the all-stock deal.

Amongst the shareholders of SocialNet are US-based venture capitalists Accel Partners, St. Paul Venture Capital, Knight Ridder Ventures and Primedia Ventures.

SocialNet, founded in 1997, operates a US-oriented Web site, while MatchNet, incorporated in England in 1998, is an international company headquartered in Beverly Hills, California with a listing on the Neuer Markt in Frankfurt. The company operates several dating sites including AmericanSingles.com, DeutscheSingles.de (Germany), BeMatched.com (U.K.), and JDate.com for lonely Jewish Web surfers.

MatchNet said the acquisition "fits perfectly" into its expansion strategy. Concentrating on matchmaking based on special interests, MatchNet said its brand will be solidified as "a powerhouse in the Internet dating sector." The company said it expects over 200,000 new members and more than 150 million page views per month. MatchNet's business model is based on paid memberships and advertising.

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