Match Surges Most in Two Years as Tinder Leads Robust Growth

(Bloomberg) — Match Group Inc. shares rallied the most ever, hitting a record high after the company gave an optimistic earnings report and outlook, fueled by dating app Tinder’s surging subscriber growth.

The shares gained as much as 29% Wednesday, hitting a high of $95.32. They were trading at around $93.44 at 2:08 p.m. in New York.

Tinder delivered Match a “blowout” quarter, Cowen & Co. analyst John Blackledge wrote in a note, adding that management expects continued subscriber momentum.

Match’s revenue jumped 18% from a year earlier to $498 million, the company said in a statement Tuesday, $9 million more than Wall Street forecasts. The gain was fueled by a 39% boost in new subscribers for Tinder, or more than 500,000. The performance prompted Dallas-based Match to raise its full-year forecast for revenue growth to the “high teens” from a previous outlook for an increase in the the “mid teens.”

Match is owned by billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp. Since going public in 2015, Match has quadrupled its market capitalization, largely driven by explosive growth in Tinder, the dating app where people swipe right on photos of prospective dates to indicate romantic interest.

Tinder boosted its average subscriber base to 5.2 million in the second quarter, the second highest increase ever, driving direct revenue growth of 46%.

Match is also on an aggressive global expansion mission, acquiring dating apps in Japan and hiring local talent to help reinvent Tinder in places like South Korea, where the app’s “hook-up” culture is frowned upon. Match also said it invested in the Egypt-based dating app Harmonica, which will help it serve 33 predominantly Muslim countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Match runs dozens of other dating sites like OkCupid, Plenty of Fish and Match.com, but subscription growth in these products pales in comparison to Tinder as they work through a re-branding to modernize for mobile devices. “They are not advertising as heavily [in these apps] and we are not expecting to see any growth there,” Benjamin Black, an analyst at Evercore ISI, said in an interview before the results were released. “Subscription growth is going to be all about Tinder again this quarter.”

Match also reported net income of $128 million, down 3.4% from a year earlier. Earnings per share of 43 cents beat estimates for 40 cents. Match said it expects revenue of $535 million to $545 million in the third quarter, topping analysts’ estimates, and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $200 million to $205 million.

On the conference call Wednesday morning, Match’s Chief Financial Officer Gary Swidler responded to analyst questions on Tinder’s recent efforts to sidestep the Google Play app store. In April, Tinder launched a new default payment process that skips Google’s app store “to offer user’s choice whether to use Google Play or credit cards” straight into Tinder’s app, Swindler said.

This new payment flow allows Tinder to avoid paying a cut of revenue to Google for listing it on Play. Swindler said Match expects to see increasing financial benefits from the payment switch in the current quarter and would be looking into options for rolling it out on Apple’s app store as well.

(Updates shares in first paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected the spelling of the CFO’s name.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Olivia Carville in New York at ocarville1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Giles Turner

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