Pornhub owner MindGeek purchased by private equity firm

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. PornHub parent company MindGeek is being acquired by private equity firm Ethical Capital Partners. The Canadian Press

A new private equity firm based in Ottawa says it has acquired the company behind one of the world’s largest pornography sites, Pornhub.

Ethical Capital Partners on Thursday announced its purchase of MindGeek, which owns a large portfolio of adult entertainment properties, for an undisclosed amount.

MindGeek found itself embroiled in controversy after a New York Times opinion piece detailed allegations of sexual exploitation on platforms including Pornhub. The Montreal-based company is frequently ranked in the dozen-most visited websites in the world, ahead of Amazon, Netflix and TikTok.

The scrutiny sparked deletion of millions of explicit videos by Pornhub and prompted Visa and MasterCard to sever ties and Parliament to launch an inquiry.

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In 2021, the federal government laid out a blueprint for cracking down on harmful materials posted to online platforms. Consultations and roundtables have been carried out since, though no legislation has been tabled.

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Launched last year, Ethical Capital Partners is led by cannabis entrepreneur Rocco Meliambro and criminal lawyer Fady Mansour, who are listed as chair and managing partner, respectively.

Derek Ogden, a retired chief superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is another a founding partner.

The company site has only one news post _ the MindGeek purchase.

“At ECP, we seek out innovative and ethically-driven companies that operate at the frontier of new, evolving industries,” Mansour said in a release.

“In MindGeek, we have identified a dynamic tech brand that is built upon a foundation of trust, safety and compliance, and with ECP’s resources and broad expertise spanning regulatory, law enforcement, public engagement and finance, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen what already exists.”

MindGeek said the private equity firm’s backing will allow it to “continue to revolutionize safe, legal, sex-positive tech, and connect adult users around the globe with creators, content, advertising partners and technology they can trust.”

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MindGeek — legally headquartered in Luxembourg, but with its main office in a nondescript glass building in Montreal — settled a class-action lawsuit in California in 2021 alleging it profited off material showing child sexual abuse and non-consensual activity. Several Canadians were among the plaintiffs.

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