In August we reported from our sources that Match Group made an offer to acquire Bumble for $450M. Bumble declined the offer, and at the time a source close to the company suggested to TechCrunch that Bumble was actually valued at $1 billion.
Now we’ve learned that these talks are still ongoing, with recent discussions centered around a valuation of “well over” $1B.
The news comes from a Forbes report that we’ve independently verified with sources close to the company.
Of course there is no certainty that a deal will ever be finalized. But the fact that Match is still at the negotiating table shows that the company wants Bumble badly enough to potentially pay more than double its original offer.
It’s still unclear how a potential deal would be structured. Match has about $500M in cash on hand (and a market cap of just under $8B) so it’s unlikely to be an all-cash deal unless the company funds it via debt. Other options generally available are a cash/stock deal or even a partial acquisition or investment.
It makes sense why Match is so eager to add Bumble to its portfolio of dating apps – the company is still growing like a weed, with over 23M registered users and more than 850 million total matches made in under three years.
Bumble also focuses on a demographic that is generally absent from Match’s combined dating brands, which is college-educated millennials (and students). While Tinder originally started by focusing on college students it’s scale and giant user base has now turned off the customer base that helped it get its start, with Bumble now being the clear favorite among college students and recent grads.
Bumble has also shown its willing to expand beyond the dating world and start chipping away at legacy job networking sites like LinkedIn, which if successful would also be attractive to potential acquirers. The dating startup recently launched BumbleBizz, a swipe-based networking feature designed to help you find professional opportunities like jobs, mentors or just meeting new people who work in your industry.
Of course there’s some history between these two companies. Match is the parent company of Tinder, where Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe was a cofounder. She sued Tinder for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination. Tinder and Wolfe settled the lawsuit out of court, with no admission of wrongdoing on either side.
In response to a request for comment, Match said “we don’t comment on rumors and speculation”. Bumble declined to comment.