opinion

Investors Beware!

Tom Hymes
The adult entertainment industry is atwitter with investment fever. It's all the rage, the flavor of the month, the obsession of the year, and a lot of company owners are hell-bent to take advantage of the opportunities they perceive to be present in the adult investment area.

Whether the opportunities are really there or not is as yet unproven, but a feverish environment is certainly being stoked anyway by those who would profit from such deals, and the fever is spreading. Lots of companies are up for sale — some on the down low, some out in the open — and the owners of others are actively seeking financial assistance in order to expand or evolve.

In such an environment, when, ironically, the allure of porn as a source of easy money has lost pretty much all of its potency — especially for those who've been around a while — plans to exploit the investment arena are being hatched everywhere that might not otherwise see the light of day, and a veritable flock of buzzards have been eying the terrain. It's a volatile situation, one fraught with risk, and I would advise extreme caution on the part of anyone considering serious investment.

Normally, one expects any legitimate investment group or individual to bring all due diligence to bear on any prospective investment, whether in the adult space or any other, and one would assume that those big deals that have gone through over the past few years underwent thorough review. Likewise, one would expect that any company looking to find investors, even a new or small one, would at least make a serious attempt to present itself as professional and solvent. But I have seen some crazy stuff over the years that put the lie to much of that, and I no longer assume anything when it comes to the true value or solidity of many companies in this space — they look great from the outside, but inside it's a whole other story.

Call me cynical, but I think something crazy happens to even the most professional people when they come into this business and try to assess the value of adult companies. Even adult companies themselves, sometimes even the largest brands in the business, make big mistakes when it comes to the acquisition of other adult companies, mistakes they end up regretting.

Perhaps they were hoodwinked by a slick song and dance, or made certain assumptions about a side of the business they didn't understand. Maybe they were just the victims of bad luck or bad timing, and the thing just wasn't meant to be. But I think it's the voodoo magic of porn that casts a dangerous spell.

You could call it greed if you want, but I just call it ego in search of a high.

Porn is like the sirens on the rocks, beckoning innocent patrons onto the shoals with the promise of sex, money made from sex and the infamy that comes with making money from sex. But vulnerable rocks of porn are already littered with shattered dreams; no need to add to them. If you're thinking of getting in, get in slowly and seek sound counsel. If you are looking to get out, play it straight and don't inflate. You don't need the SEC on your ass, and neither do we.

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