A website which helps married men and women have an affair has pledged to invest in the UK market because of its relaxed attitude towards infidelity.
The Ashley Madison site was originally started by a Canadian company. It wants to attract investment in Europe after attempts to infiltrate the North American market failed.
The website claims to have more than 34 million members worldwide, although it’s not clear if all of those listed have had an affair.
The founder of the company Noel Biderman, recently said that it plans to raise as much as $200 million by listing its shares in London this year.
However, several brokers have already raised objections to the plans and said that they would refuse to invest.
According to the Daily Mail, one chief executive said that investors would be in “uproar” if they found that pensions were put into the group. He added: “A lot of brokers don’t want to be anywhere near it”.
The chief executive of another major City broker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I think we would probably feel a bit queasy about getting involved in it.”
The site, which has the tagline: “Life is short. Have an affair”, says that it helps people to “seek discreet encounters”.
Since its launch in 2010, it has had more than a million sign-ups in the UK and is estimated to have a net worth of $1 billion.
Reacting to the site’s plans to invest in the UK, Harry Benson, Research Director of Marriage Foundation, said: “I seriously hope that any professional investor worth their salt will think twice before putting savers and pensioners’ money into this marriage-breaking organisation.”
The Director of International Relations for Ashley Madison, Christoph Kraemer, told Reuters: “In Europe, we have simply got a more laissez faire attitude towards a business such as ours”.
“It is for people who are married, who are seeking an affair and want to do so in a discreet environment”, he added.
Astonishingly, Kraemer also claimed that the website can help married couples.
He said: “The response we get from our members who have actually had an affair via the website is that they feel happier, invigorated and transmit that happiness, which actually reinforces and ignites a spark in their marriage and relationships”.
Adultery is one of several grounds for the divorce in the UK. Marriage Foundation have said that affairs are “more damaging” when children are involved, as their parents “break apart for no obvious reason”.
A study last year highlighted the devastating effect of divorce on children, prompting the group to call on the Government to take the issue of marriage breakdown more seriously.
The study, commissioned by an association of family lawyers in England and Wales, found that almost two thirds of 14 to 16 year-olds whose parents divorced said that their education was negatively affected.
One in seven said that the stress involved with their parents’ split caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol.