On Tuesday Match Group which is a subsidiary of IAC/InterActiveCorp purchased PlentyofFish Media for $575 million in cash. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Markus Frind which is the founder and sole owner of POF started PlentyofFish.com way back in 2003. It was a side project for him to learn a new programming language. It quickly exploded and by 2008 he was earning $10 million a year from the dating site with only a couple of employees. Early this year POF.com reach a milestone and hit 100 million users. The company also predicted it would earn $100 million for the year 2015. On its newly launch responsive mobile site POF currently reports the following statistics:
- 3.5 million singles log into POF.com daily (through the website and dating apps)
- Those same singles generate more than 9 million conversation every day
- From those conversations 1 million relationships are created every year
In the past two years I have heard several rumors about Match being interested in purchasing POF.com. I had heard around $300 million was offered at one point, but it was turned down. For a site earning $100 million in a year with no debt and it’s only real expense is it’s 75 employees that was a pretty low offer (if it is true). Obviously there was some negotiations going on which resulted in Markus walking away with over half a billion dollars. Funny enough, the general rule of thumb in purchasing a website (now these are much smaller sites [smilely: ;]]), is that it is worth about 4 years’ worth of the income it generates. I guess from using this purchase as an example, that the rule is not too far off!
The Match Group has purchased a number of dating services over the past 6 years:
- In 2014 Match purchased How About We
- In 2012 Match buys DateHookup.com
- In 2011 OkCupid was bought by Match.com for $50 Million
- In 2009 People Media was acquired for $72 Million
Combining all of these sites along with Tinder (which Match had funded pretty early on) and adding POF to the mix, this will make the Match Group the undisputed power house in dating online and on our phones for years to come. Acquiring POF will also make the Match Group’s proposed IPO that much more enticing to investors when it happens, which is most likely near the end of the year.
POF is currently a free dating site that offers a paid subscription for an upgraded membership. This upgraded membership offers a number of features like no ads, viewing extended profiles and seeing who has viewed your emails. I am curious to see if the Match Group plans any tweaks to this formula. If they change POF to a completely paid dating site like Match.com (which I highly doubt by the way), then I am sure POF users would be up in arms. I have a feeling they will leave POF.com pretty much the same for now and let it continue as is, in the same way Match Group let OkCupid continue to operate.