LadBible Founder Worth £ 200 Million As Shares Rise After IPO | Digital media

The 30-year-old founder of LadBible, the company born from a sexist Facebook page to one of the world’s largest social media publishers, is worth £ 200million after his company went public.

Alexander “Solly” Solomou, who started the Manchester-based media company while studying business management at Leeds University, cashed in shares worth £ 50million and retains a stake valued at around £ 150million in the listed group LadBible.

Solomou used his savings to purchase LadBible’s original Facebook page in 2012, and quickly learned to play with the site’s algorithms and make content go viral as social media usage exploded. In the process, he transformed the business from a small shop that recycled mocking and mocking memes to one with around 450 employees, many of whom are young Manchester-based employees producing original content.

Recognizing the site’s problematic reputation early on, LadBible attempted to redefine the definition of a “boy” to mean a caring person who takes care of the sanity of their friends and worries about plastic waste. He has produced material featuring mainstream celebrities, such as an infamous video of Dame Judi Dench rapping with Lethal Bizzle, in addition to building up a significant female readership.

The company now presents itself as an “environmentally and socially responsible company” which aims to “give a voice to the generation of young people by creating communities that laugh, think and act”.

LadBible owns other brands, including UniLad, after buying out debt from its former rival in a complicated 2018 financial deal that infuriated UniLad executives at losing control of their business. Unlike other new media, it largely avoided harsh news content, although it did make videos featuring Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

During the 2010s, investors poured huge sums into so-called new media such as Vice and BuzzFeed, on valuations that ranked them among technology companies. In fact, many companies have struggled to meet their financial growth goals and the market increasingly values ​​them in line with traditional media.

LadBible co-founder Arian Kalantari, also 30, cashed in shares worth £ 3million and retains a £ 10million stake in the company. Other early investors who could benefit include Mahmud Kamani, owner of Debenhams and co-founder of online fashion site Boohoo. Last year Boohoo was made aware of “endemic” problems at its Leicester factories, including non-payment of minimum wages and the risk of fatal fires.

LadBible said it made pre-tax profits of £ 5.6million on income of £ 23million in the first six months of 2021, a substantial increase from the previous year but still relatively small in the wider world of media companies. His income was primarily derived from billing brands such as Lynx, PlayStation, and KFC for bespoke marketing campaigns, or making money through programmatic advertising on sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube.

The company could now continue to expand in the United States, where it has a large audience but no staff.

Early trading in its shares pushed the market value of the company up to £ 400million. By comparison, US-based BuzzFeed is worth around $ 770million (£ 580million) after its stock price fell sharply following its listing this month on the New Nasdaq Exchange. York.

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