Match Group Inc., which has become a behemoth in online dating by swallowing promising independent brands, is doing it again. The company is purchasing a controlling stake in Hinge, a seven-year-old company that has positioned itself as a counterbalance to the casual dating scene on Tinder, Match’s flagship product. Match will take a 51 percent stake, with the option to buy the remaining shares over the next year, according to both companies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Hinge is the fifth-highest grossing dating iPhone app, according to the research firm App Annie. (Tinder has consistently been at the top of the list for years.) In its initial form, Hinge operated like Tinder, with users swiping left or right on photographs to express interest. When two people both said they were interested, the app would connect them. Users signed up through Facebook and, unlike Tinder, could only connect with people with whom they had at least one connection in common.