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UPDATE 3-Dating app Bumble aims for nearly $6 bln valuation in U.S. IPO

(Recasts first paragraph, adds more details from filing)

Feb 2 (Reuters) - Dating app operator Bumble Inc hopes to be worth nearly $6 billion in a stock market launch later in February, seeking to cash in on record-breaking demand for new shares on U.S. capital markets.

Bumble is unique among dating apps for letting women make the first move and was founded in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd, a co-founder of rival app Tinder, which she left earlier that year.

In 2019, private equity giant Blackstone Group Inc took a majority stake in MagicLab, which at the time was the owner of Bumble, valuing the entire firm at around $3 billion, according to PitchBook.

Other investors in Bumble include tennis legend Serena Williams and actress Priyanka Chopra, who starred in the TV series “Quantico”.

A millennial favorite, the app had gained popularity worldwide over the past few years, but came under pressure in 2020 as users stayed at home due to COVID-19-related restrictions and social distancing.

Bumble’s filing comes when the U.S. IPO market is at its strongest in over two decades, with companies raising a record $168 billion through IPOs last year, according to data from Dealogic.

The company’s revenue rose 11% to $543 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from a year earlier. Revenue had jumped by more than a third in fiscal 2019.

It had 42 million monthly active users as of the third quarter of 2020, and 2.4 million paying users in the nine months ended September, according to its latest filing.

The company said it would sell about 34.5 million shares, raising over $1 billion at the upper end of the price range of $28 to $30 per share.

Austin, Texas-based Bumble had confidentially filed for an IPO late last year. It said it plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “BMBL”.

Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are the lead underwriters for the offering. (Reporting by Anirban Sen and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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