Tinder operator buys Seoul-based start-up Hyperconnect

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Tinder operator buys Seoul-based start-up Hyperconnect

Match Group, operator of dating app Tinder, acquired Seoul-based start-up Hyperconnect for $1.725 billion in cash and stock, the companies said Wednesday.
The deal would give Match Group a 100-percent stake in the smaller company. By transaction volume, this is the Tinder operator’s largest acquisition to date.
Launched in 2014, Hyperconnect’s best-known service is Azar, a video-based social media service that randomly connects people in one-on-one video chat rooms with instant translation. 
Among the company’s later releases are Hakuna Live, a video social media platform for groups and audio broadcasts launched in 2019, and Slide, a video dating app released in November.
Hyperconnect generated 123.5 billion won ($111.5 million) in revenue during the first half of 2020, and, according to App Annie, was the sixth-largest app publisher from Korea by sales last year. Its services have a much larger user base outside Korea, with 99 percent based overseas.

The Seoul-based start-up made it clear that it would carry on operations independently of Match Group following the deal’s closure. The two would collaborate, however, in terms of marketing strategies and sharing Hyperconnect’s video technology.  
The Tinder operator praised the start-up’s experience in the Asian market, where the influence of its dating app Tinder is not as strong as other major markets.
"With more than 75 percent of usage and revenue coming from markets spread across Asia, their product suite and regional footprint squarely complements our own,” said Shar Dubey, CEO of Match Group in a joint statement.
“We will leverage our deep bench of expertise to help accelerate Hyperconnect's already impressive growth, look to deploy Hyperconnect's technologies across our existing portfolio and continue to invest in their growth."

Hyperconnect, on the other hand, was struggling to establish itself in the United States and is hoping the partnership will help, said the company spokesman.

"As the social discovery space continues to expand, the timing couldn't be better to partner with a global operating expert like Match Group," said Sam Ahn, CEO of Hyperconnect.
"Match and Hyperconnect draw from a common philosophy: Utilize technology and know-how to drive meaningful connections through trusted brands that users love. Hyperconnect is proof that technology can create global opportunities — even for a small start-up from Korea — and we're thrilled to have found a partner that values this thinking."

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON   [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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