A US dating website and one of Europe’s largest commercial broadcasters may not seem like obvious bedfellows. That hasn’t stopped Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 from taking over eHarmony, a pioneer of the sector which has been financed by Sequoia Capital and other VCs.
In recent years companies like eHarmony, which emphasises the pursuit of meaningful relationships, have been eclipsed by the rapid take-up of apps such as Tinder and Bumble. Via its e-commerce business NuCom Group, in which growth capital firm General Atlantic became a partner last February, ProSiebenSat.1 aims to merge eHarmony with Parship Elite Group, a leader in the online matchmaking space in the German-speaking and Benelux region and which already sits in its portfolio. The rationale is that Parship will introduce its matchmaking services to the US, the largest online dating market in the world, estimated to be worth $3bn (€2.6bn).
With Tinder’s founders currently in a legal dispute with parent companies Match Group and IAC, eHarmony and ProSiebenSat.1’s partnership appears to be well timed.