Schoolfriends after family tree in UK deal

Popular Internet-based school-friends linkup company Schoolfriends.com elected to be acquired by the United Kingdom-based Friends Reunited largely to gain access to its family-tree and dating search services, one of its founders said.

Popular Internet-based school-friends linkup company Schoolfriends.com elected to be acquired by the United Kingdom-based Friends Reunited largely to gain access to its family-tree and dating search services, one of its founders said.

Vicki Dawson, one of the founders of Schoolfriends, which operates services in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, told ZDNet Australia   the company's owners had chosen Friends Reunited as an acquiror because of the range of products it offered. Friends United revealed in the United Kingdom over the weekend (AEST) it had acquired Schoolfriends for AU$2.7 million, with the two operations set to merge.

Dawson said Schoolfriends was specifically interested in the "Genes Reunited" feature, which allows customers to track down their family tree.

Dawson said under the agreement, she will continue to run the Web site in Sydney, together with three other staff and her brother and co-founder Rob Barron.

Dawson said there will also be no change to the subscription fees for customers. The full registration of AU$19.95 will still be maintained, even with the integration of the two company's databases and the new services from Friends Reunited later on in the year.

The Sydney-based Schoolfriends started in 2000 and offers a Web-based search for long-lost friends from their schools, sporting clubs, community groups, defence forces and workplaces.

Friends Reunited now has more than 11 million members with profits of around AU$13.5 million and sales of about AU$24 million.

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