Match Group acquires members-only dating app The League for ~$30M

Match Group, the parent company of several popular dating apps, including Tinder and Hinge, has acquired the exclusive dating app The League, a spokesperson from the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 2014, The League is a highly selective dating app designed to match ambitious and career-focused people looking for long-term relationships.

TechCrunch was first alerted to the closing of the deal when an unknown source sent us a copy of the company's internal announcement email from Match Group CEO Bernard Kim.

"We have just closed our acquisition of The League, a premium, niche dating app with a curated member base focused on matching career-oriented users looking for a serious relationship," Kim wrote in the email.

At the time of this original report, we did not know the deal terms. However, Match's year-end SEC filing disclosed the deal's purchase price, net of cash received, was "$29.9 million, of which $25.7 million was paid in cash on the acquisition date and $4.2 million was deferred cash consideration that remains payable at December 31, 2022."

According to The League's app description, it's a "dating community designed for the overly ambitious that know what they want and refuse to settle." The app has an admissions-based model where potential users can apply to join by submitting their social media profiles. Users are then waitlisted until they pass a screening algorithm and review process, which is designed to ensure that the app gives matches users with similar career goals and ambitions.

The League can be used for free as a "guest," or you can become a member by purchasing a subscription, which doubles your matches. Depending on the subscription term you choose, your membership can last for one week, one month, three months, six months or 12 months. The company's website notes that a membership gives you access to a higher quantity and quality of matches.

The app has faced criticism over the years since its launch, as some view it as elitist. The League founder and CEO Amanda Bradford has repeatedly defended the app from claims that it's elitist, noting that anyone can apply to join the dating app regardless of factors like their income, the family they’re from, their profession or which schools they’ve attended.

The League joins Match Group's extensive roster of dating apps, including Tinder, Match, Hinge, Meetic, OkCupid, Pairs, PlentyOfFish, OurTime, Azar and more.

Match Group's acquisition news comes as Google has responded to the company's antitrust lawsuit in a new court filing that refers to Match’s original complaint as a “cynical attempt” to take advantage of Google Play’s distribution platform and other tools while attempting to sidestep Google’s fees. The two tech giants have been battling it out in court after Match sued Google this May over its alleged monopoly power in Android app payments.

Update, 2/25/23: Added information regarding the acquisition terms via an SEC filing.