Badoo, the majority owner of the dating application Bumble, which gives women sole power to initiate conversations, is seeking a sale that could value the company at about $1.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Badoo owns 79 percent of Bumble, according to sources. While Bumble is Badoo's largest U.S. property, Badoo's eponymous dating app has been one of the most downloaded dating apps in the world.
Possible buyers include Match Group, which owns mobile dating app Tinder, as well as non-U.S. based strategic buyers and private equity buyers, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Badoo has hired J.P. Morgan Chase to help it find a buyer, the people said.
Match declined to comment.
Bumble is best known for its dating app, which allows only women to initiate online conversations after a man and woman "match" by swiping right on each other's picture. The #metoo movement and growing attention to female empowerment against sexual harassment has made Bumble a particularly enticing asset to own right now, one of the people said.
The Bumble app has user growth of about 100 percent year over year, making it one of the fastest-growing dating properties, one of the people said. The app had more than 12.5 million users last year, according to Forbes.
In October, Bumble expanded its offerings with a business networking app called BumbleBizz. Like the main app, it will allow only women to initiate conversations.
Badoo is owned by Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev.
Bumble's founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, was also a co-founder of popular dating app Tinder. She left the company in 2014, and later filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against it, which was reportedly settled for "just over" $1 million.