Australia: A brothel listed on the stock exchange


by Vanessa Charles


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High heels, miniskirt and neckline up to the navel.

It is in this outfit that Heidi Fleiss entered the Australian Stock Exchange. Not to solicit, but to seduce the investors within the framework of the promotion of the shares of Daily Planet, the first brothel entered in the Stock Exchange, last May 1st, after a long legal battle. His presence did not go unnoticed, since the price doubled the day of its launch.
This stock market operation, the hottest of all time, was born from the meeting of three legendary figures: the two directors of the sulphurous Melbourne establishment, where an hour of sex costs roughly 150 euros, and Heidi Fleiss, the very controversial Californian Madame Claude, who was sent to prison by the sex industry, made a millionaire and elevated to the rank of celebrity.

The Daily Planet

Executives at the Daily Planet, which opened in 1975 and was legalized in the mid-1980s, say they have only lifted the lid on what everyone already knows: there will always be people willing to pay for sex. The market will never be saturated. So why not invest in it? But it wasn't that simple.

In 1994, John Trimble and Andrew Harris, respectively owner and manager of the brothel, had already tried to go public, but, although Australian law allows prostitution, the financial markets were not ready. "We ran into moral and legal barriers. The State of Victoria decreed that all prospective shareholders had to undergo rigorous police checks. This deterred all stockbrokers from supporting us." explains the director of the establishment.

After this initial setback, the two men embarked on a legal battle that would last seven years and cost them approximately $4 million. They succeeded in convincing the courts that their profits did not come from hardcore prostitution, but from renting out the rooms. In other words, it is the Daily Planet premises that are listed on the stock exchange and not the girls who work there. Subtle and brilliant nuance!

Armed with their license, our two men continued their assault course. They now had to find a broker willing to venture into the market, which was certainly attractive, but still unknown (only the Australian company Cameron Stock Brokers agreed to take the risk), and to build an image that conveyed the values of the sector: sex, glamour and money. Then, one day, their muse appeared on the small screen. Ambitious, eccentric, reckless, covered with all the honors in the world of modern courtesans: Heidi Fleiss, alias "Madame Hollywood", the immoral queen of sex.
"I know all the tricks of the trade, and if I tell you this is the best investment ever, it is." says Ms. Fleiss.

Who is Heidi Fleiss?

At 37 years old, the ambassador of Daily Planet, knows what she is talking about. Coming from the Californian petty bourgeoisie, Heidi Fleiss was still a minor when she started in prostitution, under the guidance of a brothel owner. At 25 years old, she is at the head of a small fortune and of a park of several hundreds of prostitutes. After having been involved in several scandals related to drugs and nightclubs, she was sentenced, in 1997, to three years in prison for tax evasion and money laundering. These funds came from a prostitution network frequented by celebrities - we will mention the names of Prince, Mick Jagger and Jack Nicholson. Only the actor Charlie Sheen will admit to having paid some 2,000 dollars per date with the girls of Mrs. Hollywood.
But these legal problems do not slow down her career. In 1999, she got out of prison, determined to take advantage of her fame. She creates the clothing line Heidi Wearwrites a book of sexual advice and has just completed an autobiography entitled Pandering (Pimp).
Paramount Pictures is planning to make a movie about her life, with Nicole Kidman in the lead role. Mrs. Fleiss knows on which horse to bet. So she didn't hesitate one second in front of the Daily Planet's proposal.
"I liked the offer. In Australia, it's not like in the U.S., where Puritanism and legislators have demonized sex workers and defended clients. I was a victim of these laws. Mind you, I'm not advising people to make a career out of prostitution, but people who, out of necessity or desire, wish to do so should have a legal framework", pleads Mrs. Fleiss, who also hates the terms "whore" and "prostitute".

The Daily Planet : the numbers speak for themselves

The current share price of Daily Planet shows that Fleiss and the company's management have not lacked flair. On the day of its IPO, the share (worth 7.5 million Australian dollars in total) was selling for 0.59 Australian dollars [0.34 euros], according to the Daily Planet website, which publishes its share price every hour. And the number of investors is growing. There were 650 investors on the day of the launch, and a few years later there are about 1,000, half of whom are women. 

"The shares were largely bought by the girls who work at our place." says Andrew Harris, CEO of Daily Planet.


Vanessa Charles

A (very) close friend of Cupid and a true lover of relationships of all kinds, I am the main editor of Give Me Date. I answer your questions about couples, sexuality and dating and I test dating sites to give you a subjective opinion on how to find love or meet new people.

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