First Twitter goes private, now Grindr is going public in a $2.1 Billion deal.
You may have noticed Grindr trending on social media in recent days. This is because the company, Grindr LLC, has announced plans to go public through a blank-check firm, or Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), called Tiga Acquisition Corp.
The deal estimates the combined company post-transaction value at a staggering $2.1 billion (£1.7 billion) including debt.
The business combination will provide Grindr with access to an estimated $384 million (£312 million) in funds, which the company plans to use for debt payments, to strengthen its balance sheet and to support growth areas and to launch new endeavours.
Since its inception in 2009, Grindr has had a couple of owners.
Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. acquired 60% of the dating app in 2016, and then the rest of its shares in 2018. It then sold the company to to San Francisco-based San Vicente Acquisition Partners LLC for $608 million in 2020 after the US government deemed it a national security risk.
The valuation is more than triple the $608m current owner San Vicente Acquisition paid for Grindr just two years ago.
The dating app said existing shareholders would own about 80% of the company after the merger, which is expected to close in the second half of 2022, and that chief executive Jeff Bonforte would step down from his role.
Upon closure, Grindr would join the much larger $20bn Match group, which owns dating brands including Tinder and Hinge and has about 100 million users in total, and Bumble, which has about 40 million users, as publicly listed dating apps.
Bonforte said of the move: “Grindr is well positioned to be a public company and will continue to expand the ways it serves the LGBTQ+ community, from products, services to the philanthropic and advocacy work done through Grindr 4 Equality.”
James F Lu, chair of Grindr’s board of directors, said in a statement: “The business combination with Grindr represents a tremendous opportunity to invest in critical social infrastructure for a traditionally undeserved community. Grindr has established itself as the primary social network for LGBTQ+ people, enabling meaningful expansion of its monetisation.”
“Bringing Grindr to the public markets with TAC furthers our mission to connect the LGBTQ+ community. This transaction is a milestone event, not only for our iconic company, but also for the community we serve around the world.
“We are grateful for the resilience, courage, and creativity that are some of the LGBTQ+ community’s unifying characteristics.”
Grindr and Tiga have said that the deal may require clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which vets deals for potential national security risks.
CFIUS was the organisation which ordered former owner Kunlun Tech Co. to sell the company back in 2019 over concerns that personal data of US users could be accessed and used by China’s government.
Grindr, which launched in 2009, is already considered to be the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, transgender and queer folk, with approximately 10.8 million monthly active users in 2021 alone and $147 million non-GAAP revenue during the same year.
Of these 10.8 mill, 723,000 paid for one of its subscription services, Grindr Xtra or Grindr Unlimited, with paying users up 31% over 2020.
The average user daily screen time reached 61 minutes in December.
80% of profiles showed an age of 35 years old or younger – with just 11% aged 41 or older – according to the company’s investor presentation.
The company’s revenues rose 30% last year to $147m – and it expects growth of between 35% and 40% this year – and made $77m in adjusted profits.
In 2022 the company branched into original programming, releasing its debut original comedy series ‘Bridesman’.
Grindr Unwrapped 2021: find out which countries had the most top, bottom and vers users last year, along with other surprising stats here.