Affinitas Announce Merger Deal With Spark Networks

Affinitas Spark Networks

EliteSingles owner Affinitas is merging with Spark Networks.

The news was revealed in a joint announcement sent out by the two dating companies last night.

The release said the two companies have entered a definite agreement to combine in a stock-for-stock merger, which will create “one of the world’s largest online dating providers”.

Called Spark Networks SE, the new merged business will be organised as a European company and headquartered in Berlin, Germany.

The CEO of EliteSingles, Jeronimo Folgueira, will serve as CEO of Spark Networks SE.

Jeronimo Folgueira, EliteSingles CEO said: “We have a clear vision of becoming the global leader in premium dating and this transaction is an important step towards that goal.

“By combining the market leader in religious dating with EliteSingles’ portfolio of strong brands, we will create a singular entity, well-positioned to benefit from increased scale and improved financial strength. Together, we will leverage the strengths of each company to provide an exceptional user experience and drive shareholder value.”

It is expected the two combined companies will have generated over $115m in revenue for the 12 months ending 31st March 2017, and has a combined subscriber count of 500,000.

Spark Networks SE will now house brands including JDate, JSwipe, ChristianMingle, EliteSingles, eDarling, and Attractive World.

French brand Attractive World was bought by EliteSingles last October for over €10m.

In 2016, Affinitas’ three main dating brands saw a collective revenue increase of over 20%.

Spark Networks, on the other hand, has seen revenue and subscriber counts fall over the past few years, posting a full year revenue decrease of 27% in 2016.

This slump continued in 2017, yesterday announcing its first quarter revenue was $7.3m, a 26% decrease compared to the year before and a 6% decrease from Q4 2016.

Speaking about the merger deal, Danny Rosenthal, Spark’s CEO said: “We are thrilled to be combining with such a natural partner. The scale, data analytics, and significant operating expertise that EliteSingles brings will enhance our existing brand portfolio. Together, we will be a global leader in online dating, with the opportunity to drive growth across our entire platform.”

With Folgueira becoming CEO of the new company, Spark’s CFO Robert O’Hare will continue in this position, and EliteSingles’ Managing Director Michael Schrezenmaier will become its COO.

In terms of a shareholder split, EliteSingles shareholders will own around 75% of the combined company, Spark shareholders taking approximately 25%.

The transaction has been approved by Spark’s Board of Directors and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to Spark shareholder approval.

More details about the deal to follow.