Legal

Match Group Stock Falls Despite Tinder Revenue Growth

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Match Group stock fell 10% 2 weeks ago in response to falling short of analysts’ Q4 goals, which were released along with their third quarter earnings reports.

Match Group reported revenue of $444 million, topping analyst estimates of $437 million for quarter 3. This is an increase of 29% when compared to quarter 3 of 2017 ($343 million). Match said it expects revenue of $1.72 billion for the year. But despite the growth and positive news, it was the projections for the last quarter which caused the dip in confidence from Wall Street. Analysts projected $454.5 million in Q4, while Match Group estimates it will only reach between $440 and $450 million.

Match Group lowered its estimates because of its higher-than-anticipated spending for Tinder and its other dating apps. Marketing costs are expected to rise 20% for Tinder and other brands like Hinge.

Bumble Moves To Drop $400 Million Lawsuit Against Match Group

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Is the end in sight for the legal battle between Match Group and Bumble?

According to documents filed in Texas last month, Bumble is looking to drop its $400 million countersuit against Match Group, which alleged Match interfered with its business operations, fraudulently obtained trade secrets, and intentionally tried to make Bumble less appealing to other potential acquirers. The countersuit was filed in response to a lawsuit from Match that claims Bumble infringed on several patents related to Tinder.

Initial attempts to settle failed and the war appeared poised to rage on, but a statement released by Match Group in early November indicated that Bumble will drop its lawsuit. A notice of non-opposition filed by Match confirms the company’s intent to support Bumble dropping its claims, provided the court issues declaratory judgments validating Match’s patents and Bumble’s alleged infringement of them, and absolving Match from allegedly stealing Bumble’s trade secrets.

Match Group Disputes Claim It Intentionally Undervalued Tinder

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There’s no sign of a slowdown in the legal battle between Tinder co-founder Sean Rad and Tinder’s parent company, IAC/Match Group.

In August, Rad and nine other plaintiffs sued IAC over alleged devaluation. Rad claims the company undervalued Tinder in July 2017 at $3 billion to prevent him from accessing the full value of his stock options. The suit alleges that IAC created “a false picture of Tinder’s financial condition and prospects” resulting in “bogus numbers” and that “through deception, bullying, and outright lies, IAC/Match stole billions of dollars from the Tinder employees.”

IAC is now fighting back with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, filed on October 9, which claims that Rad “fully participated in the valuation process” of Tinder and shares responsibility for the company being undervalued. Though IAC failed to accurately predict Tinder’s success over the past year, the motion argues, Rad also failed.

Spark Networks Ordered To Repay Nearly $1 Million To Customers

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Spark Networks USA, the Los Angeles-based parent company of numerous niche dating sites including Jdate and Christian Mingle, has agreed to pay $500,000 in penalties and up to $985,000 in restitution to customers after settling a consumer protection action. The money will be paid to users whose subscriptions automatically renewed without notification or who were denied refunds.

Under federal and California state law, consumers must be notified if a subscription is automatically renewed and must give their “express, affirmative consent” before any money is collected. Spark Networks failed to provide clear notification of subscription renewals, according to the settlement, and offered users no opportunity to indicate their consent via a check-box or similar form. The consumer protection action was pursued upon discovery of this violation.

“Consumers always have the right to know where their money is going and companies must comply with California’s laws in order to ensure that consumers understand certain transactions will renew automatically,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement. “This joint effort is a great example of how our Consumer Protection Unit works to protect people from unfair business practices in the marketplace and ensure that California’s consumer protection laws are followed.”

Bumble Moves Forward With Match Group Countersuit, Sets Sights On IPO

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The battle between Bumble and Match Group is entering a new round, and Bumble is taking the gloves off. Nearly six months after countersuing Tinder’s parent company for $400 million in damages, Bumble has announced it is no longer open to settling privately. Match Group and Bumble are heading to court.

“We had considered a private opportunity to settle privately, and that’s something we’re no longer open to,” Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd told Fortune. “Now we are ready to take it to court.”

Match Group threw the first punch in March, filing a lawsuit alleging that Bumble “copied Tinder’s world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise” and accusing two Tinder-turned-Bumble employees of violating their confidentiality agreements.

Tinder Co-Founder Claims in Lawsuit He Was Forced to Sell His Company Shares

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Sean Rad, Tinder co-Founder and former CEO, claims in a lawsuit that he was forced to sell his shares of Tinder stock by parent company IAC (now Match Group) under pressure of being fired. Because of this, he and other Tinder employees potentially lost millions of dollars through an alleged stock devaluation.

According to an article in The Verge, Rad says he was forced into exercising his options early, about a month before he was fired in September 2017. He says he felt pressured to sell because those options would expire after he left the company, and he suspected Match Group of planning his ouster. As it turns out, Match Group did fire him a month later, even though it wasn’t publicized at the time.