INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR - Aug 14 - Last month Match Group, agreed to buy POF for $575M in cash, the highest price it has ever paid for any of its various dating sites. To industry watchers, the high price that POF fetched was not all that surprising. IAC controlled 22% of the U.S. market before adding POF’s 4.9% share. According to Mark Brooks, Internet dating industry consultant and editor of Online Personals Watch, POF deal was mostly about timing. "Buying PlentyOfFish took one question off the table: What about the pressure from free sites, from POF? Now the answer is, 'We bought it.'" Many people looking for love will maintain profiles in several places at once. "One thing we know is that if we can't convert someone on one site, we can usually get them on a competing brand," says Brooks. "There are people who won’t try Match.com, but they will try PlentyOfFish." Analysts are eager for the spin-off. Chris Merwin, a senior U.S. Internet analyst at Barclays in New York, commented that IAC had been held back by Ask.com. "Now that there will be a true value for the Match Group in the marketplace, we think IAC will be able to unlock tremendous value." Brooks, too, feels shareholders are excited that Match Group will now be something "they can touch and feel."