Dating app Bumble is acquired, but business is still buzzing

The dating app Bumble was sold to Blackstone in a deal that values its parent company MagicLab at about $3B.


November 11, 2019

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In a deal announced Friday, MagicLab leadership sold their stake in the app company — which owns Bumble — to the private-equity biggie Blackstone. The acquisition highlights Bumble’s growth and profitability.

The deal includes a smart exit strategy

As part of the deal, MagicLab founder and majority shareholder Andrey Andreev will sell his entire stake in the company. Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd will retain much of her stake and become the CEO.

With about 75m users, Bumble is one of the top 10 lifestyle apps in the US. It is widely hailed as a feminist dating app because it’s designed to allow women to initiate all conversations… meaning fewer incidents of unsolicited phallus photos.

Things got weird when Forbes published an exposé this summer revealing a culture of misogyny at Badoo, another Andreev-owned dating app. His divestment in MagicLab allows Bumble to lose the baggage.

Meanwhile, let’s look at seriously sexy numbers

Blackstone earlier this year launched a business dedicated to growth investing. 

But rather than racking up minority stakes in unprofitable companies like Uber and Lyft — a standard investor practice for the past few years —  it is going for majority stakes in companies that can make money. MagicLab is profitable and it sees annual revenue growth of about 40%.

The Blackstone deal values MagicLab at about $3B — a nice bump up from a $1B acquisition offer from Match group. As part of the deal, Blackstone will invest in Bumble, which will allow it to expand geographically and develop additional services.

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