Match Approaches Meet Group About Takeover

(Bloomberg) -- Soon-to-be single, cashed up dating app, seeks long-term relationship.

Tinder-owner Match Group Inc. has approached rival Meet Group Inc. about a takeover, according to people familiar with the matter. No final decision has been made and Match Group could opt to not proceed with a deal, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.

The potential transaction comes as dating app providers face pressure to do deals as Facebook Inc. expands in the fast-growing space. The Blackstone Group Inc. acquired a majority stake in MagicLab in November that valued the owner of Bumble at about $3 billion. Match, which is in the process of being spun off by IAC/InterActiveCorp., acquired a minority stake last month in Noonlight, which makes personal safety products.

Meet Group’s shares rose as high as 21% in New York trading Thursday. The stock was up 17% at 12:40 a.m., giving the New Hope, Pennsylvania-based company a market value of about $468 million. Match rose 4.8% to $79.68, giving it a market value of about $22.3 billion.

A representative for Match declined to comment. A representative for Meet Group didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Match owns some of the world’s most popular dating apps, including OkCupid, Hinge and Plenty of Fish. The Dallas-based company missed revenue estimates in the fourth quarter, after Apple Inc. made it easier for daters to cancel subscriptions, it reported this week.

Meet Group specializes in live-streaming apps that let people communicate via text. Its portfolio includes MeetMe, Growlr and LOVOO, according to its website.

A division of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is exploring an acquisition of the company, Reuters reported in December.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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