Blackstone Group is Getting into the Dating Game

The private equity giant is buying a large stake in MagicLab

MagicLab, a developer of dating and social networking apps, has a new beau. Private equity giant Blackstone Group is buying a $3 billion stake in the company. MagicLab’s properties include Bumble and Badoo.

Under terms of the deal, MagicLab founder Andrey Andreev will step down from the company he founded in 2006. He will also sell his stake in the firm.

“We’re excited to invest in MagicLab, which is a pioneer in the fast-growing online dating industry,” said Jon Korngold, Head of Blackstone Growth. “They have a highly talented team and strong set of platforms, including Bumble, which was built on a commitment to inclusion and female empowerment. This partnership is a perfect example of Blackstone’s ability to use its scale, long-term investment horizon, and [a] deep bench of operational resources to help entrepreneurs take advantage of transformational growth opportunities in order to create global industry leaders over time.”

Blackstone Group and Online Dating

Meanwhile, online dating has evolved into a massive business thanks to the widespread adoption of Smartphones. Analysts currently estimate that the sector could hit $12 billion by 2020.

Now with Blackstone taking a big stake, it assures that Badoo will remain outside of the control of Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive (IAC).

IAC attempted to buy Bumble in 2017. However, IAC received a reply via an advertisement in the Dallas Morning News that didn’t signal mutual feelings.

“We swipe left on your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us,” the ad said. “We’ll never be yours. No matter the price tag, we’ll never compromise our values.”

Finally, Whitney Wolfe Herd, co-founder of the female-friendly dating app Bumble, will take over as MagicLab’s CEO. Prior to founding Bumble, Herd also co-founded Tinder. She also suggested funding Chappy, the gay dating app owned by Badoo.

Related: Blackstone Group May Employ Hostile Takeover with Unizo Holdings

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November 20, 2019

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