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MindGeek, the owner of Pornhub, sold to a private equity firm

Many adult entertainment websites owned by MindGeek, including Pornhub, Brazzers, and Redtube, were purchased by a Canadian private equity company, Ethical Capital Partners (ECP).

The deal’s specifics were kept under wraps by ECP, which was only founded last year.

With ECP’s resources and extensive expertise spanning regulatory, law enforcement, public engagement, and finance, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen what already exists, said ECP founding partner Fady Mansour in a statement. “In MindGeek, we have identified a dynamic tech brand that is built upon a foundation of trust, safety, and compliance.

The purchase comes after a difficult few years for the major porn company. In June 2022, MindGeek’s CEO, Feras Antoon, and COO, David Tassillo, both left the organization. Moreover, MindGeek is also facing numerous lawsuits alleging that it intentionally made money off of material containing child sex abuse (CSAM). The platform will eliminate all unverified content by the end of 2020, and anyone who appears in a user-uploaded video will now need to prove their identity. Similar rules are upheld by platforms like OnlyFans as a strategy to combat nonconsensual content.

ECP describes MindGeek as “the internet leader in combating unlawful online content” in its statement. A number of guidelines in MindGeek’s trust and safety program are listed by the private equity group, including its moderation procedures, which call for human moderators to manually evaluate each upload.

Regulations like SESTA and FOSTA enacted in the United States pose a serious risk to MindGeek and the internet porn business as a whole. Credit card processors are wary of breaking the law because the legislation creates an exemption to Section 230 that makes online platforms accountable for supporting prostitution and trafficking. Companies that have processed payments on websites like Pornhub, like PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, and Discover, no longer do so.

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