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Chinese company selling dating app Grindr in the midst of national security concerns

A person look at the Grindr app on the App Store on a phone in Los Angeles on March 27, 2019. A Chinese company has been ordered by the united states national security officials to sell popular gay dating app Grindr, The Wall Street Journal reported on 27 March.
(CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Chinese company is looking to the sell of the popular gay dating app Grindr after the U.S. government the national security council deemed the app a danger to the safety, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (exhorting cfius) has told Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd, Grindr poses a national security risk, two sources told Reuters. Grindr, originally located in West Hollywood, was purchased by the Kunlun in 2016.

The U.S. government is closely monitoring foreign app developers because the apps collect personal information, leaving the officials especially if app users are members of the AMERICAN military or intelligence.

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Grindr the owners said that in August they were selling the company through an initial public offering (IPO), but the reports of the exhorting cfius have reportedly convinced Kunlan to pursue different sales process. Instead of pursuing an IPO, which would have kept Grindr under Kunlan control, the Chinese company decided to go on an auction to sell Grindr outright.

The Chinese company holds a majority in Grindr for $93 million in 2016. Kunlan, the company acquired by means of a series of individual negotiations between 2016 and 2018, but was never formally submitted for the acquisition to be reviewed by the exhorting cfius.

Grindr, which claims to be the world’s largest social network app for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, has come under fire for sharing the HIV status of some of its users, reported Fortune. 27 million users were on Grindr in 2017. Users allow the app to access their personal information, including the location, private messages, and HIV-status, according to Grindr’s privacy policy.

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U.S. senators Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent a letter to Grindr in 2018, demanding the Chinese company to detail how it planned to protecting the privacy of its users. Exhorting cfius intervened in the Grindr deal to ensure personal safety and the users ‘ data freely distributed by foreign companies.

The committee also blocked the Chinese companies from purchase of the US money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc and mobile marketing AppLovin because of similar problems.

Kunlan hired the investment bank Cowen Inc. with the sale of Grindr. Various AMERICAN investment companies are interested in buying the company, reported Reuters.

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