The founders of the dating app Tinder, along with current executives and some of its employees, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against IAC/InterActiveCorp and its Match Group subsidiary for allegedly bilking them by manipulating financial information to create a lowball estimate of Tinder’s value.
They are seeking at least $2 billion in the lawsuit against Match and IAC, which is controlled by media mogul Barry Diller.
IAC and Match Group, of which Tinder is now part, called the allegations in the lawsuit “meritless.”
The lawsuit claims that there were written contracts between IAC and Match and Tinder employees, including founders Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen. The contracts required Tinder be valued on specific dates in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 and that the workers be allowed to exercise their stock options and sell them to IAC and Match.
The lawsuit alleges New York-based IAC and Match instead created false financial information, delayed new products and used other tactics to try to keep Tinder’s valuation low. Tinder was then merged into Match Group, which the lawsuit says was a pretext to extinguish Tinder employees’ stock options.
IAC and Match Group said the lawsuit was a case of “sour grapes” on the part of Rad and Mateen at seeing Tinder’s “enormous growth” since their departures from the company.