Bumble IPO Moves Forward, Could Value The Company At $1.1 Billion

  • Thursday, November 22 2018 @ 09:36 am
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Bumble continues to dominate dating industry headlines. In recent months, the company continued its high-profile legal battle with Match Group, debuted in India with the help of actress Priyanka Chopra, launched a fund to invest in women-founded companies, and announced an upcoming line of beauty products. Bumble also revealed that it is exploring an IPO, a rare move in the dating space.

“Our revenue is remarkable, and it is only going to get better,” Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd told Forbes in September. “There is a need for a new IPO in this space, and we offer something that nobody else offers. This would allow us to really spread our wings at a new level.”

Plans for the IPO appear to be moving forward. Andrey Andreev, the majority shareholder of Bumble’s parent company, publicly discussed a possible Nasdaq listing with Bloomberg in October. “We’re now in very deep discussions with banks,” including JPMorgan Chase & Co., he said. “The listing would be on the Nasdaq. It’s been in the air for ages, but the serious consideration has happened only recently -- in the past month.”

Andreev expressed extreme confidence in Bumble’s ability to eclipse its competition. “We’re better than Match, we’re younger than Match, we’re growing faster than Match,” he boasted. “Because we’re younger and faster we deserve a better market cap.”

In the absence of public financial records to use for valuation estimates, analysts from Bloomberg Intelligence and Synovus Trust reviewed the average price/sales multiples of three peer companies -- Spark Networks SE, Meet Group Inc. and Match Group Inc. -- to estimate Bumble’s IPO valuation.

Calculations by Synovus Trust senior portfolio manager Dan Morgan placed Bumble’s IPO at $1.1 billion. This figure is below the $1.5 billion valuation it was reportedly seeking while searching for a buyer in January.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sean Handrahan estimated a public valuation of $1.1 to $1.5 billion-plus, excluding any discount for IPO investors. Expansion into international markets and profitability in the company’s networking and friends vertical are two factors that could tip the valuation towards the higher end of that range, he said.

As Bumble continues to explore an IPO, Wolfe Herd says going public is not the company’s only option. Acquisition remains on the table for the right offer.

“We don’t really look at an exit as part of the day-to-day strategy. … We’re not getting out of bed in the morning, saying, ‘Who can we sell to?’ We’re saying, ‘Who else can we empower? Who can we inspire? What societal norms can we completely dismantle?’ she told Fortune. “If an acquisition came along that was going to fuel that mission and help take it to every corner of the planet, faster, more efficiently, it’s something we’ll explore.”

For more on this dating app you can read our Bumble.