Bumble dating app ends its relationship with Russian billionaire

Bumble — the dating app that promotes itself as empowering women and keeping them safe — has finally ended its awkward relationship with a controversial Russian billionaire.

Andrey Andreev — a London-based tech tycoon who has been accused of presiding over a sleazy office culture at Bumble’s sister dating app Badoo — announced Friday he has sold his majority stake in the apps’ parent company MagicLab to Blackstone Group in a deal that values it at $3 billion.

Bumble’s founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, who famously left hookup app Tinder after accusing a male colleague of sex harassment, launched Bumble in 2014 with features to give women more control over conversations with dating prospects and to keep them from being stalked and harassed.

At the same time, however, Wolfe Herd sold a controlling stake to Andreev, who reportedly tolerated an office culture at MagicLab’s UK-based hookup app Badoo, where women were routinely objectified, according to a Forbes report earlier this year.

Rampant hedonism at Badoo included a party where “everyone was naked and doing lines of coke,” according to the report. The party was reportedly photographed and sent over the internal email system.

Another employee claimed that a video circulated around the company of a male Badoo employee receiving oral sex from a prostitute, with one female employee saying she was pressured by male colleagues into watching it.

Badoo denies such a video exists.

Wolfe Herd, who has a 20-percent stake in Bumble compared with Andreev’s 59- to 79-percent cut, had defended her business partner, saying in a statement at the time that he had become her family and one of her best friends.

“What I’ve seen firsthand from Andrey is creative and motivating behavior,” Wolfe Herd said. “Andrey has never been anything but kind and respectful to me.”

On Friday, Wolfe Herd, who will become CEO of MagicLab under the deal, said she “will strive to lead the group with a continued values-based and mission-first focus, the same one that has been core to Bumble since I founded the company five years ago.”

Andreev said in a statement Friday that he is working to “ensure a smooth and successful transition” before he embarks on new business ventures.

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