Cupid (CUP) - why is the price falling?

Thursday, Feb 07 2013 by

Apologies, I'm just trying to work out how to insert an annotated chart into posts, practising for morning reports.

Cupid chart


Check out the strange price action in Cupid (LON:CUP)

It seems strange particularly because the company is buying back its own shares, so you would expect that to be clearing away any overhang. So price should be rising, not falling.

Is this a cupid stunt?



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Also, a friend has just pointed me in the direction of this amazingly detailed bearish analysis on Cupid posted a couple of days ago, which might explain the sell-off:




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As per our Terms of Use, Stockopedia is a financial news & data site, discussion forum and content aggregator. Our site should be used for educational & informational purposes only. We do not provide investment advice, recommendations or views as to whether an investment or strategy is suited to the investment needs of a specific individual. You should make your own decisions and seek independent professional advice before doing so. Remember: Shares can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a guide to future performance & investors may not get back the amount invested.

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Castle Street Investments plc, formerly Cupid plc, is a United Kingdom-based company that offers a variety of online dating services. The Company operates in three segments: Established Markets in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa; New Markets in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, and Developing Territories in Brazil and India. The Company’s Websites include, and The Company also promotes brands, such as, and more »

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12 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

wisley 8th Feb '13 1 of 12

The most salutary aspect of the tradingpoint article is the web analytics - compared to its peers, CUP has much poorer quality traffic to its sites with very few users lingering for any length of time. Ominous for a web-based business.

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Paul Scott 8th Feb '13 2 of 12

Cupid (LON:CUP) shares plunge further today to around 138p.
The company has issued a statement today.

It seems to have just about arrested the decline in share price, but not given the market any confidence for a rebound.

They refer to a consumer radio programme conducting an investigation into the online dating world, and that Cupid are co-operating with the programme makers.

I came across this clip from Channel 4 News, which is well worth watching, as it implies that the whole sector is scammy, with websites creating fake profiles to dupe customers into renewing their subscriptions.

Not something I'd want to risk, so I'm deleting Cupid from my possible buys list.


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MrContrarian 8th Feb '13 3 of 12

I bought more today after reading the bear article and just before the RNS to reassure the market. I expected a bounce when January trading and 2012 profits were issued.
The radio prog is transmitted Sunday

I then sold out after reading some of the links and reviews found by googling Cupid's UK brands:

I suspect that getting people to subscribe and keep them there by sending fake messages is endemic in the industry.

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Paul Scott 8th Feb '13 4 of 12

In reply to MrContrarian, post #3

Good find on the terrible online reviews for Cupid's UK brands.
It does indeed look very much like a scammy company, hence I won't be buying the shares at any price.

Regards, Paul.

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Edward Croft 22nd Mar '13 5 of 12

Cupid (LON:CUP) being absolutely hammered today. Tom Winnifrith this morning here -

I did tell 2 fund managers last summer that the earnings quality needed investigating according to the risk flag on the Beneish M Score... they smiled rather condescendingly.

Cupid is being treated with disdain by the market - I dearly hope that Stockopedia members aren't caught up in this debacle.

Blog: Follow @edcroft on Twitter
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Paul Scott 22nd Mar '13 6 of 12

Hi Ed,

Well I've been outspoken with my bearish comments on Cupid in my morning reports for about six weeks now, linking to the evidence, so people had plenty of warning to get out!

Cheers, Paul.

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Edward Croft 22nd Mar '13 7 of 12

Cupid statement out now -

The Company can confirm:


•              The Company does employ a motivation team of 24 people working across three shifts, covering a range of websites and companies.

•              The team does not communicate with free members.

•              The team does communicate with new paying subscribers to help them get the most out of the site.

•              The team also communicates with subscribers to monitor and interrogate the sites in order to detect and identify any technical or product issues proactively. The team also moderates chat rooms and forums.

Blog: Follow @edcroft on Twitter
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Aubrey Brocklebank 22nd Mar '13 8 of 12

Don't forget my follow up piece:
(where you will see in my comments I'd posted on the Kyiv Post article a while ago!)

What I highlighted in that article is that whilst they announced that they had 533k monthly average subscribers the likelihood is that they only had circa 406k subscribers at the end of the period, compared with 486k for the end of the previous year.

If it is true that the company has been using its Motivation Managers to entice subscriptions - something that they have not actually denied... then it is not too much of a leap to imagine that they might try to mislead shareholders?

Were that to be the case then one might question all the other red flags that this company has....

The M-Score being one!

Also the increase in payable days as reported at last accounts.
It is possible that they could have postponed many payments until January. I can not imagine that it would be hard to postpone payments such as rent which is owed to the CEO. Were that to be the case then that calls into question how much of that 14m of cash is left on the balance sheet? especially after earn-outs, dividends, buybacks, the extra £2m of marketing, all those uniform dating ads, the cost of all those motivation managers etc...!

Also I would love to get my hands on the Investor Presentation that they are not making available to the public.
Apparently it refutes all my arguments. I also gather that they have been accusing me of being in the Shorters payroll. This is absolutely not true, it is a complete fiction invented to try and discredit my research.


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Paul Scott 22nd Mar '13 9 of 12

In reply to Aubrey Brocklebank, post #8

Hi Aubrey,

Absolutely - you got the ball rolling on this one for sure, with your detailed research.
Then the BBC Radio investigation raised more warning flags, and the massive Director selling aroused my suspicion. Also, MrContrarian flagged up the appalling results from doing a Google search for many of Cupid's websites.
Just shows how investors working together, and sharing research on the internet, can do a very effective job in sniffing out problems with a company's business model.
Will be interesting to see what happens next.

Regards, Paul.

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flopanayi 26th Jul '13 10 of 12


Cupid PLC is being sued for EUR 1.9 Million for Cyprus subsidiary's breach of contract.

Claimant has also applied for an "interim order" (Block) to be placed on Cupid's Cyprus based assets (which are subject to the announced sale)

The major issue being raised, is Cupid Plc's direct influence on the management of the Cyprus based subsidiaries.

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k9tas 26th Jul '13 11 of 12

Cupid featured in a BBC Scotland investigation programme last night wouldn't have made comfortable watching for the firms management . Buyers beware !!!

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Fangorn 31st Jul '13 12 of 12

Just seen this Panorama programme on dating agencies.

Makes interesting viewing.

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