By December 2005, Friends Reunited had over 15 million members and was bought by British TV company ITV plc for £120 million (8 million), plus further payments of up to £55 million based on its performance up to 2009.In 2007, ITV Chairman Michael Grade described the site as "the sweet spot" of the internet and stated that "Friends Reunited is one of the great undersung jewels in the crown ...

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Friends Reunited was a portfolio of social networking websites based upon the themes of reunion with research, dating and job-hunting.

The first and eponymous website was created by a husband and wife team in the classic back bedroom internet start-up; it was the first online social network to achieve prominence in Britain, and it weathered the dotcom bust.

Julie Pankhurst's curiosity about the current status of old school friends inspired her to develop the website, exploiting a gap in the UK market following the success of US website

Ex-Financial Times executive Michael Murphy was brought into Friends Reunited as the new chief executive in 2005 and the similar web site School Friends Australia & Findakiwi New Zealand was rebranded and merged with the UK site.

Each site worked on the principle of user-generated content through which registered users were able to post information about themselves which could be searched by other users.

A double-blind email system allowed contact between users.one of the most important bits of ITV going forward, a massive presence, and profitable" Following regulatory approval, the sale was completed on 25 March 2010.Friends Reunited branding was attached to CD collections of nostalgic popular music, and television programmes broadcast on the ITV network, which owned the site until August 2009.A book of members' stories was published in 2003 by Virgin Books, and a song about (and named after) the site was released by The Hussys in 2006.Following ITV's sale of the site to DC Thomson's Brightsolid subsidiary in 2009, the company relaunched Friends Reunited in March 2012 with a new emphasis on nostalgia and memories.The website was conceived by Steve and Julie Pankhurst of Barnet, Hertfordshire and friend Jason Porter in 1999.