When Stephen Pankhurst’s wife urged him to find a way of getting in touch with old school friends, his solution was a simple website. By 2004 Friends Reunited had become a household name, with services in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Registration and browsing are free, but subscribers pay £7.50 a year to use the site. Last month the company bought the online recruiter Topdogjob.com for a reported £2m to diversify. Profits rose 50% a year from £1.6m in 2001 to £5.4m in 2004, when it achieved one of the highest margins on the table.
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