The owners of gay dating app Grindr will sell it for about $US608.5 million ahead of a June deadline to divest. Beijing Kunlun said earlier Friday it agreed to sell its 98.59% stake in the app to San Vicente Acquisition LLC. The parent company of GROWLR also sold this week.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) must approve the sale.
Kunlun previously bought a majority stake in Grindr in 2016 and the remainder of the company in 2018.
The CFIUS earlier set a June 2020 deadline for the Chinese gaming company to sell the app. However, the body never declared why it required the sale.
Despite that, it seems safe to assume the U.S. government has concerns about the possibility of the Chinese government harvesting information from the personal data of app users.
In 2018, two U.S. senators wrote to Grindr asking how the app would protect users’ privacy under the Chinese owner. In 2019, Reuters reported that Kunlun allowed Beijing-based engineers access to the personal information of millions of Americans Grindr users.
The new owners
There is little information available on potential new owner San Vicente Acquisition. The only known investor in the consortium is James Lu, a former vice president at Baidu. Baidu, which began as a Chinese search engine, is now one of the largest AI and internet companies in the world.
The sale of Grindr comes hot on the heels of news that the parent company of gay dating app for bears, GROWLr, has also sold. ProSiebenSat.1`s and General Atlantic’s joint company NuCom Group announced their acquisition of the Meet Group which bought GROWLr a year ago.
Those companies already control dating brands Scruff and eharmony among others.
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