Published: Fri, March 29, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

USA officials order Chinese company to sell Grindr

USA officials order Chinese company to sell Grindr

The Chinese owners of Grindr, the online gay dating app, are trying to sell the company after the USA government said that it posed a security risk.

Kunlun fully acquired the California-based Grindr app in January of a year ago for an estimated $152 million after buying an initial $93 million stake in 2016, reported TechCrunch.

The gaming company took full ownership in 2018.

Though CFIUS has not responded to request for comment, Grindr has been under scrutiny for some time now.

Kunlun had said last August it was preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) of Grindr.

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In 2017, Grindr assured users that the Chinese government would "not have access to your account", and declared, "We want to keep it real with you (and we don't want anyone spreading insane conspiracy theories), so here's what you need to know..."

Grindr, which bills itself as "the world's largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people", was founded in 2009 and says it has millions of users worldwide. The company gather personal information - including location and messages - from its roughly 27 million users.

Previous examples of the USA ordering the divestment of a company after the acquirer did not file for CFIUS review include China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation's acquisition of Seattle-based aircraft component maker Mamco in 1990, Ralls Corporation's divestment of four wind farms in OR in 2012, and Ironshore Inc's sale of Wright & Co, a provider of professional liability coverage to US government employees such as law enforcement personnel and national security officials, to Starr Companies in 2016.

The move against Chinese ownership of Grindr is unlikely to elicit anywhere near as strong a response from Chinese officials, but will play into broader sentiment that the U.S. is unfairly targeting China.

"The Chinese government will not have access to your account", the company claimed.

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