Chinese gaming company buys remaining stake of Grindr

After purchasing a majority stake in Grindr last year, ​​​​​​a Chinese gaming company has acquired the rest of the dating app for gay men from its founder Joel Simkhai, the West Hollywood company announced Friday.

Kunlun Group Limited said in May that it planned to purchase the remaining stake and Simkhai said he would stay on as CEO. But now that the deal is closed, Simkhai has left the company.

Yahui Zhou, chairman of Grindr’s board, will serve as interim CEO. Grindr did not say why Simkhai is departing.

Grindr sold 60% of its stake to Kunlun in 2016 for $93 million, valuing the company at $155 million. Grindr did not name the price of the full acquisition, but according to Reuters, Kunlun planned to purchase the remaining stake for $152 million.

Best known as a hook-up app for men, Grindr has 3.3 million daily active users worldwide, making it the largest LGBTQ-specifc mobile social network since its 2009 launch. Its key feature — quick match-making — has in recent years been mimicked by same-sex dating apps.

“This acquisition by Kunlun not only reflects Grindr’s growing global prominence but also will assist Grindr and our family of brands in becoming the premium destination for LGBTQ community, news, information and culture,” said Peter Sloterdyk, Grindr’s vice president of marketing in a statement.

Kunlun, based in Beijing, has a background in mobile gaming. The Chinese government has taken a strict stance against American social media companies and closely governs speech online. Though China does not recognize same-sex marriage, Beijing has not stood in the way of home-grown gay dating apps such as Blued.

In a May blog post, Simkhai said there would be no changes for users in the sale.

Wei Zhou, who was Grindr’s vice-chairman, is now executive vice-chairman and chief financial officer, and Scott Chen, who has worked at Facebook and Instagram as an engineering manager, is now chief technology officer.

alejandra.reyesvelarde@latimes.com

Twitter: @r_valejandra

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