Grindr was nearly bought by affair website Ashley Madison, leaks reveal

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Leaked info shows that gay hook-up app Grindr was nearly acquired this year by affair website Ashley Madison.

Data from millions of Ashley Madison users, both straight and gay, has been leaked onto the internet this month in one of the biggest infiltrations of its kind.

Files from the company’s email servers were also released by hackers – and online sleuths poking through the data have found the company was seriously considering a proposed acquisition of Grindr.

It was reported in May that Grindr, which is used by millions of gay men around the world, was seeking a new owner, and that the company is “early into the process” of a sale.

Leaked emails seen by Forbes show that executives at Avid Life Media, the parent company of Ashley Madison, had been “seriously considering” an acquisition of Grindr at the same time.

Briefings on the proposal from Grindr revealed that the gay hook-up service is expected to make $38.1 million in sales this year, with 3.8 million active monthly users and 324,000 paid users of the app.

Jason DeZwirek, who is Ashley Madison’s biggest shareholder, expressed doubt over a mooted deal, writing to the company’s CEO: “[Board member] Leonard thinks it would be a good acquisition for us and I said I agreed but I did not think that we could raise the debt even if it is as little as $35 million because of the Ashley factor.

“He thinks he could (raise the debt) with a Grindr standalone. He mentioned going it alone with no association to Avid and flipping it to Avid after closing.

“I thought that was an interesting idea but of course the debt holders would have to agree at the time. He could pursue it, and if he were successful flip it to use, or if for some reason he does not other dominoes would have to fall.”

However, Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman appeared to pour cold water on the deal.

He said frankly: “In my mind I don’t really see where Avid owning Grindr helps us at the end of the day. I for one would rather own SeekingArrangement for that kind of money.”

A Grindr spokesperson said:”As a matter of policy, Grindr doesn’t comment on which potential partners or investors we have conversations with or the specifics of those conversations.”