New York Post

Slower Tinder growth burns Match

- By JAMES COVERT jcovert@nypost.com

Wall Street has an on-again, offagain love affair with the company that owns Tinder — and it’s off again. Shares of Match Group fell nearly 6 percent Wednesday after it warned that the ranks of paying subscriber­s on its dating apps and sites — which also include OKCupid and Match.com — aren’t growing as quickly as expected.

Dallas-based Match Group reported second-quarter revenue of $301 million and earnings per share of 17 cents, beating analysts’ forecasts of $297 million and 16 cents, respective­ly.

Still, the company — which Barry Diller (left) spun off from his IAC/ InterActiv­eCorp in an initial public offering last fall — said its “revenue ramp has been slower than originally predicted” and will fall “below prior expectatio­ns for the year.”

Match shares — which took a beating in February after a disappoint­ing quarterly report, then got a boost in April on better-than-expected results — slid as much as 8.5 percent on the latest news before closing at $15.68, off 96 cents, or 5.8 percent.

The scary part: Tinder itself, as opposed to older sites like Match.com and OKCupid, has become a source of worry when it comes to the revenue outlook.

“The percentage of people using Tinder that will actually become paying subscriber­s is a lot lower than many people think,” says Brandon Ross, an analyst at BTIG who predicted the disappoint­ing subscriber numbers in a note to clients earlier this week.

That’s mostly because there are enough dating profiles on Tinder and other apps to swipe through free of charge, according to Ross.

Indeed, millions of singles have been flocking to fast-growing rivals like Bumble, an app created by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, and Happn, a Paris-based app that uses location-based services to connect people who have crossed paths with each other.

“In New York City, apps like Bumble and Happn already have significan­t mind share,” Ross said.

“Many single people prefer them to Tinder, despite Tinder’s brand equity,” Ross added.

On the positive side for Tinder, venture capitalist­s have grown less enthusiast­ic about pouring more cash into new dating apps. While the barriers for creating them are low, the space has grown increasing­ly crowded.

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