Dating Site could go for Billions

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 U.S., according to sources.

Match Group, non-U.S. based strategic buyers, and private equity buyers could be interested, 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.

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 source said.

The Bumble app has user growth of about 100% 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.

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.

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.