Grindr: China’s Kunlun says US approves sale to investor group

(Reuters) – Chinese gaming company, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd, said on Friday that a US national security panel approved the $620 million sale of popular gay dating app, Grindr, to an investor group called San Vicente Acquisition LLC.

The panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), ordered Kunlun last year to divest Grindr amid concerns regarding the safety of the personal data it handles, such as users’ private messages and HIV status.

A Treasury spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on behalf of CFIUS.

Kunlun has not disclosed the identity of the investors behind San Vicente. It has said only that the group comprises seasoned investors that include one or more US entrepreneurs.

“We are pleased that all approvals for the sale of Grindr have been received and look forward to the close of the transaction in the days ahead,” Grindr said in a statement.

Based in West Hollywood, California, Grindr has several million daily active users and describes itself as the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

Kunlun is one of China’s largest mobile gaming companies. It acquired a majority stake in Grindr in 2016 for $93 million, and bought out the remainder of the company in 2018. It did so without submitting the transactions for CFIUS review.

CFIUS’ subsequent intervention in the Grindr deal underscored its focus on the safety of personal data, after it blocked the acquisitions of US money transfer company, MoneyGram International Inc, and mobile marketing firm, AppLovin, by Chinese bidders.

-Echo Wang in New York; Alexandra Alper in Washington, DC

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