MindGeek, the parent company of popular websites Pornhub and Brazzers, has been acquired by Ethical Capital Partners, a new private equity firm based in Ottawa. While the sum of the purchase price was not disclosed, Ethical Capital Partners and unnamed international investors now own 100% of MindGeek shares, the company announced in a public statement.
MindGeek’s new owners outlined their strategy for the company, including plans to create greater transparency and promote »consensual and sex-positive adult entertainment.« Founding partner of Ethical Capital Partners, Solomon Friedman, explained that the company wants to encourage conversations about trust and safety in the sex work industry. Friedman also mentioned that MindGeek has developed premium tools for detecting and preventing illegal online activity, and the new owners are excited to have access to that technology.
ECP also wants to regain the trust of credit card companies, as MindGeek has been in trouble with the leading providers of credit cards for years. In addition, the company is looking to fill the CEO and COO positions that were vacated by the previous owners last June.
MindGeek issued a statement saying it was excited about working with the Ethical Capital Partners team. The acquisition of the company by a private equity firm with ties to the Canadian cannabis industry and several law firms may come as a surprise to some, but it remains to be seen how it will affect the company’s policies in the long run.
MindGeek is still the leading actor in online adult entertainment, with a portfolio of popular websites that includes Pornhub, Brazzers, Reality Kings, and Digital Playground, among others. The company has faced heavy criticism and controversy in the recent past, including accusations of hosting non-consensual, or abusive content and promoting sex trafficking. Over the past two years, MindGeek has taken steps to address these issues, including implementing age verification requirements and working with anti-trafficking organizations.
It remains to be seen how ECP will deal with issues such as content moderation, user privacy, and sex workers’ rights. However, the stated commitment of the new owners to promoting consensual and sex-positive adult entertainment suggests that they will take a different approach than the company’s previous leaders.