10 May 2011

Public Sex

Posted by Jody under: Cleaning Tips .

Online sex sells a lot of things, but who would have thought stock would be one of them? One click-and-mortar erotic tchotchke shop has rocked the traditionally conservative financial world with the first IPO in online adult toy history. Beate Uhse, a 50-year-old German sex-shop chain that recently started selling its randy wares online, became the first publicly held adult products company in the world with its May 1999 debut on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Stateside online smutmeisters are salivating from the sidelines, hoping one day to take their wares public.

Talk about a sexy stock. The 8.4 million shares (symbol: USE) released raised roughly $64 million, and those investors who beat the masses to a piece of the action at the initial $7.50 price saw their investment triple within the first few days. “The share [was] over-subscribed more than 60 times after three days,” says Brain Fais, investor relations representative for Beate Uhse. “The books had to be closed after four days.”

Is this merely foreplay preceding a parade of other erotic dealers to follow Beate Uhse’s stiletto-clad footsteps into the public arena? Hennig attests there was no moral backlash from investors, the press, or the public. But is the U.S. market really ready for publicly held online porn?

Maybe, although the company has gotten no calls for advice from American or other foreign erotic shops, online or off. However, a month after Beate Uhse’s IPO, a publicly traded company listed on Australia’s ASX, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the Berlin Stock Exchange, decided its investors could handle a corporate sex change.

Australia-based Western Minerals NL traded its nearly inactive mining business for a rendezvous into online sex toy sales, changed its name(symbol: ASC), and announced plans to open its online shop in early 2000. Within the first five months following the announcement, the stock price rocketed 1,500 percent, bringing the company’s market cap to roughly $58 million, according to Malcolm Day, managing director. “As a public company, we gain a hell of a lot of credibility,” Day says, “something the adult industry often lacks.”

If Beate Uhse’s stock performance is any indication, investors (at least German ones) might be ready for XXX securities. The stock originally appeared on the SMAX index for small-cap funds, but the Frankfurt Stock Exchange upgraded it to the MDAX mid-cap index in December.

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