Porn group turns its back on Wall Street

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The Independent Online

Private Media Group is to join the growing number of businesses shunning Wall Street in favour of London.

The company, one of Europe's biggest pornography providers, is listed on Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange's market for tech companies, with a market value of $188m (£96m). But after several years on Wall Street, it has now decided to move its listing to the Alternative Investment Market, part of the London Stock Exchange. The bulk of Private Media's investors and businesses are already located in Europe.

The company's president, chairman and chief executive, Berth Milton Jnr, said it was also switching exchanges because it was "extremely unhappy with the treatment small cap companies get from the US market and US regulatory bodies". Mr Milton added that moving "seems like a good idea and also a way of saving money".

Private Media was founded in Sweden in 1965 when Berth Milton Snr, Mr Milton's father, began publishing Private magazine, widely considered to be the world's first legal hardcore title.

Mr Milton bought out his father in 1991 and began expanding the business into new areas, including videos and then DVDs. He licensed the company's name for a variety of products, including condoms, and set up websites.

Private Media's London market debut, expected some time this year, is the latest by a string of companies looking to escape Wall Street's harsh regulation. Most of it, notably the stringent Sarbanes-Oxley Act, was introduced in the wake of corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom.

However, AIM has come in for criticism in recent months. In particular, some investors have voiced concerns about the quality of companies listed on the market. In response, the LSE recently instituted new rules for AIM advisers to make them more accountable for the companies they bring to market.

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