Hinge sells 51 percent of shares to Match Group

Match Group, parent company of dating apps Tinder, OkCupid and Match, announced yesterday that it has acquired a 51 percent stake in Hinge. With this new acquisition, Match Group has the right to acquire all remaining shares of Hinge within a 12-month period.

Match Group says its interest in Hinge began in 2017 after a redesign in which it did away with the “right swipe” in favor of more detailed profiles. According to a statement from Hinge, its app saw 400 percent growth in its user base after these changes. In a dating world often dominated by “hook-ups,” Hinge positions itself as a “relationship app” and focuses on building real relationships instead.

Hinge in many ways is the antithesis to Tinder, but Match Group says this is part of the advantage to the partnership, not an obstacle.

“Dating isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach,” a Match Group spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We operate a variety of products because people gravitate to different apps for different reasons.”

Hinge CEO Justin McLeod says that this merger will help the company expand even further than it could alone.

“At a certain point, having the scaling capability of a well-funded and experienced partner [like Match Group] makes sense,” McLeod told TechCrunch. “We want to bring a more thoughtful dating experience to the most people.”

This acquisition by Match Group follows a reportedly failed attempt to acquire the dating app Bumble in November. Following the collapse of those discussions, Match Group filed a lawsuit against Bumble in March for patent infringement, claiming that it “copied Tinder’s world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise.” Two weeks later, Bumble followed up with its own lawsuit to the tune of $400 million that alleged Match Group fraudulently obtained trade secrets during its acquisition talks six months earlier. These lawsuits are still being settled.

Hinge offers an alternative acquisition for Match, which is clearly looking to continue diversifying its dating offerings. “[Hinge] has been getting real traction with cosmopolitan millennials,”a Match Group spokesperson said. “We hope to meaningfully accelerate [its] growth.”