What happened: The owner of popular LGBTQ dating app Grindr has canceled plans for the app’s IPO and is now seeking to sell it at auction after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS) said its ownership poses a national security risk. Gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech bought Grindr in 2016 for $93 million but never submitted its acquisition for CIFUS review, which made committee action possible even years after the purchase was completed. Grindr has hired investment bank Cowen Inc. to spearhead the sale.
Why it’s important: While CIFUS has not commented on its rationale for undoing the acquisition, this is not the first time it has blocked the purchase of US companies by Chinese firms. According to Jason Waite, a partner at law firm Alston & Bird LLP focusing international trade regulations, “Personal data has emerged as a mainstream concern of CFIUS.” Grindr collects a broad range of information it about its users, including location and sometimes HIV status, and has come under fire by privacy advocates.