March 29 (Reuters) - The parties involved in the $620 million sale last year of dating app Grindr Inc gave information to a U.S. national security panel that contradicted disclosures to potential investors and Chinese regulators, Reuters reported on Monday.
Many of these discrepancies center on ties between the acquirer, Chinese-American businessman James Lu and his investor group dubbed San Vicente Holdings LLC, and the seller, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd, and its adviser at the time, Ding’an Fei.
Here are some details on the main actors behind the Grindr deal.
One of China’s largest mobile gaming companies, Kunlun acquired a majority stake in Grindr in 2016 for $93 million, then bought out the remainder of the company for $152 million in 2018.
Founded in 2008 by Tsinghua University graduate Zhou Yahui, Kunlun was part of a buyout consortium that acquired Norwegian internet browser Opera Ltd for $600 million in 2016.
San Vicente is an investor group that comprises three investors. U.S. basketball team Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon owns 42% of San Vicente, investment firm Tiga Investments CEO Raymond Zage owns 41%, and James Lu owns 17%, according to internal documents reviewed by Reuters.
Zage is also the founder of three special purpose acquisition companies. Gearon owns 28th Street Ventures LLC, an Atlanta-based family office.
A former NASA software engineer, Lu is chairman of Grindr. Before becoming a member of San Vicente, he tried to raise money to acquire Grindr through other vehicles, including Duo Capital and TGL Capital. He served as chief executive of Chinese restaurant operator Life Concepts Holdings Ltd while Fei was a member of its board.
DING’ AN FEI
Fei was advising Kunlun on the sale of Grindr alongside investment bank Cowen Inc, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. A former employee of private equity firm Warburg Pincus, Fei had advised Kunlun in acquisition of Grindr over two transactions in 2016 and 2018. (Reporting by Echo Wang in New York Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Edward Tobin)