Tinder, Match, and OkCupid Prepare For IPO

Match.com
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If only all breakups ended as well as this one.

IAC/InterActiveCorp announced recently that Match.com, Tinder, OkCupid, and other dating services would become part of their own spinoff unit. The subsidiary will be called The Match Group and will be a publically traded company. Following the news, shares of IAC rose over 5%.

According to the announcement, The Match Group is likely to issue less than 20% of its common stock. The IPO is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, after which investors will be able to buy stock in the company. So far, the ticker symbol (the three-or-four letter identifications that represent companies on stock exchanges) is unknown.

The Match Group is starting out on top. IAC/InteractiveCorp is a $6 billion media conglomerate, and revenue of the new Match Group accounted for nearly one third of IAC's total revenue in the most recent quarter.

Last quarter, The Match Group reported revenues of $239.2 million, marking an increase of 13% on a year-over-year basis. Reports say Match Group’s revenues are expected to increase 18% in 2015, bringing the number to $1.24 billion.

The hope with separating the Match Group, and combining more established businesses (like Match and Meetic) with earlier stage businesses (like Tinder), is that the move will lead to significant cash flow generation and meaningful growth potential.

Or, as Chariman and Senior Executive Barry Diller colorfully put it, “I'm not a believer in simply agglomerating assets in perpetuity. I've long felt that as entities grow into size and maturity it's healthy to give them separation and independence from a mother church."

It's an exciting time for the industry, but dating services haven't always done well on Wall Street. AshleyMadison forfeited an IPO in 2011. Zoosk filed for an IPO in April 2014, but withdrew the application in May 2015. Hinge, on the other hand, skipped the IPO entirely, instead relying on raising capital from venture capitalists. In 2014, Hinge had raised $12 million.

The Match Group will also face stiff competition from other key listed players like Spark Networks and Jiayuan.com. Still, IAC believes this IPO can give new life to the Group. Estimated EBITDA for The Match Group in 2015 is $264.9 million – and that's excluding the $75 million EBITDA anticipated from Tinder alone.

A well-received IPO could not only put IAC significantly ahead of its competitors, but also serve as a litmus test for the entire dating industry.