Match dat­ing unit IPO aims to woo in­vestors

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By David Pier­son david.pier­son@latimes.com

The par­ent com­pany of dat­ing brands Tin­der, Match and OK Cu­pid wants to play the field.

IAC/ In­terAc­tiveCorp said Thurs­day that it’s plan­ning an ini­tial public of­fer­ing for its online dat­ing busi­ness, the Match Group.

IAC ex­pects to is­sue less than 20% of its com­mon stock in the of­fer­ing, which could be com­pleted dur­ing the fourth quar­ter of this year, IAC said in a re­lease.

The Match Group con­sists of 50 brands and grew 11% last year to reach rev­enue of $ 897 mil­lion. The com­pany as a whole grew 3% dur­ing the same pe­riod.

“With the trans­ac­tion, [ the Match Group] will be able to un­lock value, a topic that has been in the fore­front with the dat­ing busi­ness for the last two to three years,” John Black­ledge, an an­a­lyst at Cowen & Co., wrote in a note to clients. “Match is a mar­ket leader in a grow­ing cat­e­gory and should have solid cur­rency with in­vestors.”

Greg Blatt, chair­man of the Match Group, said the mar­riage of es­tab­lished brands with up- and- com­ing ones would help the com­pany ex­pand.

“The Match Group is poised for sub­stan­tial growth in the com­ing years,” Blatt said. “The dat­ing in­dus­try has come a long way since its in­cep­tion, but the cat­e­gory re­mains un­der­pen­e­trated. We be­lieve the com­bi­na­tion of our more es­tab­lished busi­nesses such as Match, Meetic and Our­Time, and ear­lier stage busi­nesses such as Tin­der and OKCupid, cre­ates an at­trac­tive com­bi­na­tion of sig­nif­i­cant cash f low gen­er­a­tion, strong mar­gins and mean­ing­ful growth po­ten­tial.”

Among the hottest com­pa­nies in the group is Tin­der, a hook- up app that re­cently hit 8 bil­lion matches, ac­cord­ing to com­pany founder Sean Rad.

The West Hol­ly­wood com­pany launched a pre­mium ser­vice in March in hopes of con­vert­ing mil­lions of users into paid sub­scribers. Known as Tin­der Plus, the fea­ture en­ables users to “rewind” if they ac­ci­den­tally re­ject a po­ten­tial date.

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