Dallas-based Match Group buys South Korean video technology company in $1.73 billion deal

Dallas-based Match Group Inc. will acquire South Korean video technology company Hyperconnect for $1.73 billion in cash and stock to help expand online dating and social features on its apps.

Since the coronavirus pandemic has all but ended in-person socializing, Match has been adding tools like video and streaming to its family of dating apps, the biggest of which is Tinder.

Seoul-based Hyperconnect has two flagship apps, Azar — a live video and audio chat app with features including instant voice and text translation — and Hakuna Live, a social streaming app that enables group audio and video broadcasting and offers paid features, including virtual gifting, the ability to find people nearby and augmented reality-powered avatars.

“As more of our lives move online, people are looking for richer and deeper experiences,” said Match CEO Shar Dubey in a statement Tuesday. “Hyperconnect’s live video and audio engagement technology is a powerful tool that enables users to connect with new people and cultures on a global basis.”

Seoul-based Hyperconnect's flagship apps, Azar and Hakuna Live.
Seoul-based Hyperconnect’s flagship apps, Azar and Hakuna Live.(Match Group investor presentation)

The deal gives Match the option to pay a mix of 50% in cash and 50% in newly issued shares or fully in cash at the close, which is expected in the second quarter. The purchase price assumes Hyperconnect is debt free at the completion of the transaction.

Match shares jumped 2.6% in extended trading after closing at $158.87 in New York. They have gained 5% this year.

The company has been seeing an increasing proportion of growth come from international markets, particularly in Asia. It has been working to reduce social stigmas that can be associated with online dating in non-western markets and has been emphasizing the social aspects of its apps for more than purely romantic interests.

Hyperconnect is profitable and generated more than $200 million in revenue in 2020, a 50% increase from 2019, the company said. It gets 75% of revenue from markets across Asia.

Since its launch in 2014, Azar has garnered more than 540 million downloads, while Hakuna Live, which debuted in 2019, has been downloaded more than 23 million times. Hyperconnect has 400 employees based primarily in Seoul and is led by its CEO and co-founder Sam Ahn.

“Hyperconnect is proof that technology can create global opportunities – even for a small start-up from South Korea – and we’re thrilled to have found a partner that values this thinking,” Ahn said in a statement.

Match Group’s portfolio of dating products includes Tinder, Match, Meetic, OkCupid, Hinge, Pairs, PlentyOfFish and OurTime, and are available in over 40 languages.

Mandy Ginsberg, former CEO of Dallas-based Match Group, at her home in Dallas.

Whitney Wolfe Herd meets with staffers at the offices of Bumble in Austin in 2017.

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