Business

Chinese firm to sell gay dating app after US raises security concerns

Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech is seeking to sell Grindr, the popular gay dating app it has owned since 2016, after a US government national security panel raised concerns about its ownership, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) has informed Kunlun that its ownership of California-based Grindr constitutes a national security risk, the two sources said.

CFIUS' specific concerns and whether any attempt was made to mitigate them could not be learnt. The US has been increasingly scrutinising app developers over the safety of personal data they handle, especially if it involves US military or intelligence personnel.

Kunlun had said last August that it was preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) of Grindr. As a result of CFIUS' intervention, Kunlun has now shifted its focus to an auction process to sell Grindr outright, given that the IPO would have kept Grindr under Kunlun's control for a longer period of time, the sources said.

Grindr has hired investment bank Cowen to handle the sale process and is soliciting acquisition interest from US investment firms, as well as Grindr's competitors, according to the sources.

The development represents a rare, high-profile example of CFIUS undoing an acquisition that has already been completed. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE