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Bumble dating app owner buys French Fruitz in first acquisition

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Bumble Inc announced on Monday that it has bought Frenchman Fruitz in its first acquisition, as the dating app company tries to strengthen its presence in Europe, where it is catching up with Match Group, owner of Tinder.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 2017, Fruitz is a freemium dating app popular with Gen Z and used across Europe. It allows users to convey their dating preferences through four fruit metaphors – cherries, grapes, watermelon and peaches.

The deal sets the stage for Bumble to take on rival Match Group in an arena where Hinge’s owner has the advantage of an earlier start. Bumble currently operates its Badoo dating app in Western Europe, competing with eHarmony and CharmDate.com.

“Badoo is one of the most downloaded dating apps in Western Europe, and Bumble has seen strong growth there as well,” Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said in a statement.

Match also plans to start rolling out its Hinge app in select European countries in the second quarter, it announced earlier this month.

Even though the pandemic is receding in most geographies, dating businesses do not expect business to resume immediately. Match softened its full-year revenue forecast in February as it expects the Omicron COVID-19 variant to continue to hamper dates and fixtures.

Data from research firm Apptopia showed Bumble was downloaded around 2.4 million times in the US during the fourth quarter, while Match hit 10.5 million downloads.

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)