While we cover the startup market, we do keep an eye on the investors as well and this is a story from the East that needs to be told. Renaissance Capital, a leading Russian investment bank, will be the sole underwriter of the $460 million FriendFinder IPO in the United States.

FriendFinder is the parent company of the notorious AdultFriendFinder ads that can be found all over the internet. Penthouse is also one of the products of the company and has one previous failed IPO attempt behind it from 1993. The company is in good health as it’s net revenues for the first nine months of 2008 were $262.4 million, resulting in operating income of $36.1 million and EBITDA of $66.6 million.

Renaissance Capital, head quartered in Cyprus (like many Russian companies), has been relatively active in the startup scene lately. They were the one of the underwriters of the Yandex IPO, which was later postponed due to market conditions.

Furthermore in the internet sector, Renaissance Capital was an advisor in the sale of 30 percent of Mail.ru stock for $165 million to Naspers of South Africa in January 2007. Mail.ru is the one of the largest internet portals in Russia. Renaissance Capital also played an advisory role in the 55% acquisition of Rambler by Prof-Media in October 2006.