Tinder co-founder Sean Rad clashes with Barry Diller’s lawyer

Tinder co-founder Sean Rad got heated with attorneys for Barry Diller’s media empire on Tuesday, accusing the companies he’s suing for billions of misrepresenting evidence.

“I just think you’re characterizing things in a pretty manipulative way,” said a fiery Rad while being questioned by Bill Carmody, an attorney for Match Group and IAC. 

Rad made the accusations during questioning regarding a contract signed by Jefferies bankers. This investment bank worked with Rad in a crucial Tinder valuation. 

Rad claims that Tinder was unfairly valued at $3 billion because Diller allies shared “doom-and-gloom” numbers with outside investment banks — and that the hookup app should’ve actually been worth at least $13.2 billion.

Rad and his co-founders claim the low valuation has lowered the value their stock options. The group is seeking $2 billion of damages. Rad, who came up with the idea for Tinder while working at a Diller-owned incubator in 2012, made off with nearly $400 million from the transaction but says he’s entitled to an additional $1.2 billion. 

The high-stakes Manhattan Supreme court jury trial — which kicked off last week and saw hours of testy testimony from Diller himself on Monday — turned especially hot on during the founder’s third day on the stand. 

Sean Rad
Sean Rad, a Barry Diller-owned incubator, came up the Tinder idea while working at Barry Diller.
Getty Images for Fast Company

Lawyers for both sides repeatedly squabbled over what evidence could be introduced during Rad’s testimony — and even clashed over what happened during a 10-minute bathroom break. 

When people are under oath in court, they’re not allowed to talk to their attorneys outside the courtroom about their testimony until they’re no longer under oath. But Carmody told Judge Joel Cohen that he had a photo of one of Rad’s attorneys putting his arm around Rad and entering a private area with him during a break in Rad’s testimony.

Carmody didn’t say that he was able to prove Rad was talking about his testimony, but asked that the judge remind him that it was against the law.

Rad attorney Orin Snyder then demanded to see any photos that had been taken of his client and insisted, “I know the rules. I abide by the rules.” 

Cohen, for his part, said he was “willing to take it on faith that nobody has violated any rules” and asked both parties to “dial it down.” 

“Maybe we do need to open up some windows in here because something is in the air,” Cohen said. 

The bickering came one day after Diller told jurors that lying to banks about Tinder’s prospects “would be wrong” and denied accusations that he threatened Rad and his family during the valuation spat. 

Barry Diller
Barry Diller refuted the accusations of having threatened Rad’s family and himself during Monday’s testimony.
Alec Tabak
Tinder logo
Tinder’s 2017 value was $3B, but Rad claims it is worth $13.2 billion.
GC Images

Thomas Claps, a Susquehanna litigation analyst, said that Diller’s testimony likely won’t prove decisive in the suit since the mogul didn’t closely oversee in the 2017 valuation process. 

“Despite the occasional periods of courtroom drama when Diller grew increasingly agitated by Plaintiffs’ lawyers, we don’t believe either side gained a clear advantage,” Claps wrote in an investor note shared with The Post. “Overall, while Plaintiffs’ sparring with Diller was lively, we don’t believe Diller’s testimony will have a dramatic impact on the outcome of the case – versus the testimony of others like Rad, Blatt, and the banks who were more intimately involved in the 2017 Tinder valuation process.” 

Brandy Bergman (Rad spokesperson) and Justine Saacco (Match spokesperson) did not immediately reply to our requests for comment.

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