The ProSiebenSat.1 Group strengthens its Internet dating platform business with the acquisition of the US app developer Meet Group. Although the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) found, that the acquisition will lead to further concentration in the online dating sector, the FCO, however cleared the planned acquisition due to the fact that the online dating market is characterised by dynamic growth, market entries and competition.
Since 2016, the portfolio of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group has included the online dating platforms Parship and Elite Partner. The Meet Group operates several dating platforms worldwide and is active on the German market with its Lovoo online dating platform. The acquisition will lead to further concentration in the online dating sector because the participants are among the largest online dating platforms in Germany.
The FCO examined the acquisition and did not object to it under cartel law in its decision dated 6 July 2020. Although, the FCO found the parties to have market power in the dating app segment, it, however, considered the dynamic-growth of the dating app market characterised by market entries, strong competition and development.
In particular, the FCO held that dating platform users have sufficient alternatives on the online dating market. Apart from the parties to the acquisition, especially the Match Group with its platforms Tinder, Lovescout24, OKCupid, neu.de and Zweisam.de is an important competitor, in the FCO’s view.
Furthermore, the FCO outlines that the market entry is comparably easy, as dating platform users often use several platforms and new customer business would be of great significance for online dating platforms, illustrated by the new market entries of platforms like Bumble or LemonSwan and market share gains of mobile online dating platforms like Tinder. In this respect the FCO also considered the planned launch of Facebook Dating in Europe in its competitive assessment.
In the FCO’s view, a strong position of ProSiebenSat.1 on the TV advertising market was not expected to impede competition either. The investigations would have shown that the importance of television advertising is declining, particularly in terms of attracting younger user groups.