Pornhub owner MindGeek bought by private equity firm
Adult entertainment giant must 'play a leading role' fighting illegal content, new owners say
An Ottawa-based private equity firm is buying MindGeek, the company behind the popular but controversial online pornography website Pornhub.
The terms of the purchase by Ethical Capital Partners are not being publicly disclosed.
MindGeek, which was founded in Montreal in 2004 and is now headquartered in Luxembourg, includes a large portfolio of adult entertainment properties.
It has been the subject of several high-profile lawsuits in recent years, in light of media reports alleging that Pornhub published sexually exploitative videos. The site deleted millions of explicit videos in response to the scrutiny.
One California lawsuit representing 50 women, including several Canadians, said that Pornhub knowingly released and profited from videos of them that were published without their consent. The suit was settled in October 2021.
Ethical Capital Partners said in a Thursday news release that it will support MindGeek with furthering its research and adoption of the best available online safety protocols, adding that the company "must play a leading role in the fight against illegal content across the internet."
Mastercard and Visa stopped allowing their cards to be used on the Pornhub site in 2020 amid concerns that they were facilitating access to sexually exploitative material.
The company was also the subject of a investigation by Canada's federal privacy watchdog after testimony from women who said Pornhub brushed off their efforts to have the videos taken down.
When asked in an interview with CBC News whether ECP acquired Mindgeek at a discounted price due to its legal troubles, partner Solomon Friedman said the company saw "great value."
He said that the firm will work to keep young people safe and protect intimate images, as well as treat "all who participate — content creators and users — with respect [and] dignity, ensuring full, voluntary, informed consent."
With files from The Canadian Press and Meegan Read