Bumble Moves Forward With Match Group Countersuit, Sets Sights On IPO

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The battle between Bumble and Match Group is entering a new round, and Bumble is taking the gloves off. Nearly six months after countersuing Tinder’s parent company for $400 million in damages, Bumble has announced it is no longer open to settling privately. Match Group and Bumble are heading to court.

“We had considered a private opportunity to settle privately, and that’s something we’re no longer open to,” Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd told Fortune. “Now we are ready to take it to court.”

Match Group threw the first punch in March, filing a lawsuit alleging that Bumble “copied Tinder’s world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise” and accusing two Tinder-turned-Bumble employees of violating their confidentiality agreements.

Bumble responded by publishing a letter on the company blog and filing a separate action against Match Group for fraudulently obtaining trade secrets. The suit alleged that Match Group filed its lawsuit to make Bumble look less attractive to other companies interested in acquiring it, and that Match Group “published false or disparaging information about Bumble, including statements in the press falsely claiming that Bumble infringed Match’s intellectual property, as well as false statements in the Lawsuit.”

Bumble and Match Group attempted to reach a settlement in the months that followed. Now that court papers have been served, it’s clear their efforts were unsuccessful.

“We really believe in standing up for what's right and protecting ourselves, and so we are now going to be serving this, and we are going to take this through the courts,” Wolfe Herd told Forbes. “We have the resources, we have the intellectual capital, and we have the confidence and the knowledge that we will win this.”

When asked to comment, Match replied: "To our knowledge, Bumble still has not served us. However, we understand their desire to distract from ongoing, actual litigation, regarding their misappropriation of trade secrets and infringing on our intellectual property. Bumble is required to file a response to our original claims next week and we look forward to proving these in court."

Should Bumble successfully win its lawsuit against Match Group, Wolfe Herd says the $400 million will be divided between Bumble’s venture fund, causes that benefit women and female empowerment, and charities that have not yet been chosen.

The ongoing legal brawl with Match Group is not the only big news for Bumble lately. Along with launching a fund to invest in women-founded companies and announcing an upcoming line of beauty products, the company has also revealed that it is actively pursuing an IPO.

“Our revenue is remarkable, and it is only going to get better,” Wolfe Herd told Forbes. “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.”