Grindr goes public: Chinese owner resumes plan to float hook-up app

A phone showing a yellow screen with the Grindr logo

Grindr’s Chinese owner has resumed plans to list the company after a US watchdog dropped its security concerns.

Plans to take Grindr public were first reported in August 2018, but were put on hold in March after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) labelled its owner a “national security risk.”

Beijing Kunlun Tech had instead planned to sell the app outright, but announce to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Monday (July 29) that CFIUS now has “no objection” to the listing.

According to the BBC, Kunliun said Grindr would be listed on a market outside of China, but gave no date or further detail.

CNBC reported that Kunlun will also continue its efforts to sell the company, even as it relaunches its IPO efforts.

Kunlun bought majority stake in Grindr in 2016

The Chinese gaming company has owned a majority share of Grindr since 2016, when it purchased a 61.6 percent stake for $93 million (£76 million).

It took full control of the firm in 2018 without submitting to a CFIUS review, leading to the delayed intervention.

What specific concerns CFIUS raised were never made clear, however it is known that the US government has been scrutinising app developers over the safety of users’ personal data, especially if it involves US military or security personnel.

A number of security flaws within the app have allowed hackers to find users’ location data, in some cases even when they had opted out of sharing it.

And in April 2018, the company was forced to apologise after it was revealed that a huge amount of user data–including users’ HIV statuses–was shared with two private companies.

Grindr bills itself as the world’s largest social network for LGBT+ people and is popular with queer men and trans women.

Launched in March 2009, the app counts as many as four million daily users in about 200 countries.