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As Castle Street Investment emerges from Cupid...

Former online dating business looking for partners after suffering loss

Bill DobbieFormer internet dating company Cupid, now turned into an investment business, today revealed the difficulties it faced in what chairman Bill Dobbie described as a “challenging year”.

Significant changes in the online dating market left the company with no option but to sell its dating assets and stem the rising costs of running the business.

The group, based in Edinburgh, was turned into an investment vehicle and Mr Dobbie said it was now using its cash balance to look at various opportunities.

“We started the year full of optimism but with no illusions as to the scale of the challenge ahead if we were to succeed in transforming an underperforming traditional dating business and to prepare the way for an evolution into a broad based digital services business,” he said in the newly-constituted Castle Street Investments’ maiden annual results.

“Whilst we made some significant progress in many areas in the early part of the year it became clear that the market was undergoing a sea change that would seriously delay our recovery.

“Strenuous efforts to reduce the underlying cost base resulted in us successfully reducing the rate of loss, but with trading deteriorating a return to profitability was receding.  Following a review of the strategic options open to us it became clear that the best course for our investors was to sell the remaining business, and conserve as much cash as possible for a return to shareholders or a new investment opportunity.

“With the backing of our shareholders we completed the disposal on Christmas Eve.”

The business reported a £10.6 million after tax loss, but Castle Street Investments is now “well-capitalised”, said Mr Dobbie and it is now looking at “selective opportunities” for investment.

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