TECH CRUNCH - Nov 8 - Tinder has never really shaken its reputation as a "hook up" app, instead of one designed for more serious dating. Now, it seems Tinder is planning to embrace its hook up status. According to Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg, Tinder is launching its first-ever brand marketing campaign that will promote the "single lifestyle" with billboards and other digital initiatives. "The market defined the brand, versus the business defining the brand," said Ginsberg, referring to its "hook up app" reputation. The company will also invest more in Hinge going forward. Ginsberg said Hinge will help the company to address the "previously underserved" audience of 20-somethings looking for a serious relationship. The plan is to make Hinge the anti-Tinder, then pull in users as they exit Tinder in search of something real.
TECH CRUNCH - Nov 7 - Match Group surpassed analyst's forecasted revenue of $437M, reporting Q3 revenue of $444M, a 29% increase YOY. Match says it expects to bring in a total of $1.72B in annual revenue. Despite positive earnings, the company's 4Q outlook failed to satisfy Wall Street. Match said it expects $440 - $450M in revenue in Q4, falling short of the $454.5M analyst estimate. Shares of Match sank 10% in after-hours trading as a result. Year-to-date, Match's stock is up ~60%. Tinder continues to be Match's growth engine, responsible for half its paid users and half its projected annual revenue. Tinder is expected to bring in $800M in revenue in 2018. Hinge, another app-based dating service acquired by Match in June, is on its way up. Match says it's seen a 5x increase in downloads since it first invested. Match also announced that it would, for the first time, issue a special cash dividend of $2 per share on Match Group common stock and Class B common stock, to be paid out on Dec. 19.
MATCH GROUP - Nov 7 - Total Revenue grew 29% YOY to $444M, driven by 23% subscriber growth and 6% ARPU growth. Average subscribers increased to 8.1M, a 23% YOY increase. Operating income was $140M, up 54% YOY, while Adjusted EBITDA increased 38% to $165M.
WEBPRO NEWS - Nov 3 - Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive of IAC and Expedia, recently reflected on the relative youthfulness of the Internet and areas which are still ripe for entrepreneurs. IAC owns Tinder and Match. People forget that the Internet revolution is still really young, only 22 or 23 years. It took 10-15 years just to get up enough bandwidth to actually have rich media being served through it. We are really at the very earliest stage of this.
THE VERGE - Nov 2 - Bumble is looking to drop its $400M countersuit against Match Group. Yesterday, Match filed a notice of non-opposition, essentially saying that it's okay with Bumble dropping its claims so long as the court issues declaratory judgments absolving Match from allegedly stealing Bumble's trade secrets. Match is also hoping the court will issue declaratory judgments validating its patents and Bumble's alleged infringement of them, which are involved in its original lawsuit from March. Both companies seem okay backing away from this case for now, but Match seems to want to get some absolution out of it, especially if it'll benefit the company's lawsuit against Bumble. Match sees Bumble's countersuit as serving only as a publicity stunt to bolster its reputation.
WFSU - Oct 31 - In dueling lawsuits, Match, which owns Tinder, alleges that Bumble stole Tinder's intellectual property. Bumble says those claims are bogus, designed to drive down Bumble's worth and "poison Bumble in the investment market," according to Bumble's lawsuit. One of the central questions revolves around Tinder's patented system for connecting people over the Internet. The matching is based on mutual interest, as expressed through a swiping motion. It's a real patent. But Bumble says it shouldn't be. Patents are supposed to cover inventions, not abstract ideas. Design a machine that does something, and you can patent it. Have an general idea, an overall concept? No patent. "You don't get a patent for saying 'cure dementia with a drug.' You have to say what the drug is," explains Daniel Nazer, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But in the Internet era, people discovered they could get a patent for an otherwise abstract idea as long as they tied it to an existing technology.
BUSINESS INSIDER - Oct 13 - Wall Street thinks online dating could be the next hot sector, and the latest estimate sees the market growing to $12 billion by 2020. It all comes down to peoples' increasing willingness to try out online dating, said Mark Kelley, an analyst with Nomura Instinet. "Roughly half of Internet users are single, and we estimate 20% of them will be willing to use online dating products by 2020 (up from 15% in 2015), which equates to ~310M people globally (excluding China)," Kelly said. Match will remain the clear leader. Even Facebook shouldn't be a concern.
FORTUNE - Oct 10 - The Match Group on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of undervaluing Tinder, saying that Sean Rad was closely involved in Tinder's valuation and underestimated its potential revenues. Tinder co-founder Sean Rad and a group of ex-Tinder workers filed the lawsuit in August, alleging that Match lowballed Tinder's valuation in July of last year to stop Rad accessing from the full value of his stock options. The group alleges that Match created "a false picture of Tinder's financial condition and prospects" resulting in "bogus numbers," or a $3B valuation. IAC say that Rad was closely involved in determining that $3B number. He estimated that Tinder to bring in $500M in revenue this year - significantly less than the $800M they now project for 2018. Match didn't predict Tinder's success over the past year, but neither did Rad, Match claims.'
THE MOTLEY FOOL - Oct 7 - Shares, however, have pulled back 3.4% so far this month. We can attribute Match stock's strong September performance to powerful earnings reports. Q2 revenue jumped 36% YOY to $421.2M, operating income surged 81% to $150M, and earnings per share (EPS) rocketed 165% to $0.45. Tinder's growth continues to fuel Match's overall growth, with the dating app's number of paid subscribers soaring 81% YOY to 3.8M. The main thing investors need to watch is growing competition.
FORTUNE - Oct 5 - Executives from two companies suing each other took the stage one after the other at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif., last week. Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg said that she respects Bumble and its founder Whitney Wolfe Herd despite the two companies' ongoing legal drama. "I've really admired Whitney and what she's built," Ginsberg said. "I've had a great personal relationship with her even through all this."
BLOOMBERG - Oct 2 - Match investors appear to have gotten over their Facebook fears. When the social media giant announced plans in May to launch an in-app dating feature, Match Group Inc. shares fell 22%. That, however, appears to have been just a blip. The stock is up more than 50 % since May 1 and has gained 81% for the year. But CEO Mandy Ginsberg isn't sitting still. "We'll have to see what happens and keep an eye on it," she said. Jefferies analyst Brent Thill is among those defending Match. He upgraded the stock to buy from hold in June. He doesn't see Facebook as a threat, at least not in the short term. Perhaps Match investors should be more worried about what's going on with Bumble, another millennial-focused dating app, said Thill.
SEEKING ALPHA - Oct 3 - IAC discloses acquiring ~259K Match Group shares at average prices ranging from $35.23 to $59.25. The acquisitions represent Match shares as reimbursement for IAC shares issued in connection with the settlement of Match equity awards and the exercise of IAC stock options. Match Group shares are up 1.7% to $57.25.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
TECH CRUNCH - Sep 27 - Bumble is continuing to go on the offensive against Match Group by serving Match Group with papers. Bumble is taking Match Group to court for fraudulently obtaining trade secrets during acquisition talks. Today, Bumble is also officially responding to Match Group's suit against it, which claims patent infringement and misuse of intellectual property. "Bumble has today formally responded to Match's lawsuit from March 2018 alleging patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. We believe all of the claims are baseless, and are seeking to have several claims dismissed immediately, given their lack of merit." Bumble says Match Group filed its original lawsuit against it to make it less attractive to other potential acquirers. The claims Match Group makes around patent infringement involve Bumble's use of a stack of profile cards, mutual opt-in, and its swiped-based gestures.
WIPR - Sep 27 - Match has asked a court to remove a state lawsuit filed by competitor Bumble against Match's brand Tinder, as the allegations in it should instead have been addressed by counterclaims in the parties' federal IP dispute. The dispute between the dating apps started in March, when Match filed a complaint for patent, trademark and trade dress infringement, and trade secrets violation. Its lawsuit accused Bumble of infringing IP relating to Tinder's look and functionality. Bumble subsequently filed complaints against Match in a Texas state court, alleging that Match Group tortuously interfered in attempts to sell Bumble. Match Group said that these claims should have been filed in federal court as counterclaims to the initial suit against Bumble, but Bumble instead sued Match in a Texas state court. Match asked the court to remove Bumble's state court action to enable all issues raised by both parties to be heard and adjudicated in one forum.
FORTUNE - Sep 26 - In his seven-year tenure as CEO of Match Group, Sam Yagan learned a few things about innovation. The first lesson Yagan shared in a presentation at Fortune's Brainstorm Reinvent conference in Chicago was to "build a culture of failure and reward it." Match Group was the first company Yagan had helmed that was the market leader rather than the disruptor. His executives were experiencing accomplishment and success; none of them had ever failed. To foster the innovation, failure had to be a part of the recipe. So, he incentivized failure, asking executives in their reviews to share a failure from the year prior. If their mistakes hadn't cost the company money, they wouldn't get their bonus.
Yagan's second lesson was to throw conventional wisdom out the window. This allowed Tinder to get off the ground. Yagan knew when Tinder was pitched to him that it went against all of the rules in the industry like keeping dating separate from social media and needing a national marketing campaign to succeed. But Yagan said he suspended his disbelief and took a risk by okaying the idea.
Third tip for innovators: "Protect your baby from your own organization." As Tinder became wildly successful, executives within Match Group began feeling threatened, Yagan said. He could have sold the business or caved to pressure from others, but Yagan stood strong in support of Tinder.
TECH CRUNCH - Sep 24 - Bumble is officially serving the papers in the suit against Match Group. Bumble had said in March it was filing a suit of $400M against Match Group for fraudulently obtaining trade secrets, following Match's suit filed only weeks before, which had claimed patent infringement and misuse of intellectual property. Bumble and Match Group had tried to come to some sort of settlement over the months since the lawsuits were filed. But with court papers now being served, it appears that's not going to be the case. In terms of how this suit will impact Bumble, Wolfe said, "we're focused on our growth. We're focused on ending misogyny, and we're actively pursuing an IPO."
MARIE CLAIRE - Sep 20 - Bumble is a relationships platform with ~35M users globally that is already in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and Latin America. The app is launching in India this fall. Bumble BFF, a feature to connect with new friends, recently crossed 3M users. Bumble is countersuing Match Group, which owns Tinder, for $400M. (The legal back-and-forth started last February, after Match reportedly said it was interested in acquiring Bumble, which opened its books. When Bumble turned down Match's acquisition offer, Match sued for alleged intellectual-property infringement.) Wolfe Herd joined Imagine Entertainment's board of directors in July, and in August, Bumble launched Bumble Fund, a venture-capital arm that invests in women-led businesses. And now, Bumble is getting into the beauty game. Bumble has spent several months working with psychotherapists and dermatologists to make serums that simultaneously solve skin and, according to the company, emotional issues. In mid- to late-2019, Bumble will launch two serums with quirky names, like Break Up With Bad, the line’s facial oil for "breakups and breakouts."
by Daphne Beal
See full article at Marie Claire
THE VERGE - Aug 31 - Rosette Pambakian, Joshua Metz, Jonathan Badeen, and James Kim are voluntarily withdrawing from their Match Group / IAC lawsuit today, claiming the company covertly tried to enact an arbitration agreement during their employment. All four plaintiffs worked at Tinder, which Match Group owns, up until they filed the lawsuit. At that point, Match / IAC placed them on administrative leave. They all seemingly signed the arbitration agreement. An arbitration agreement is a contract clause that prevents employees from taking legal concerns to court. Instead, they have to settle them privately with their employer. It's unclear why these plaintiffs would voluntarily sign an arbitration agreement, especially if they had been planning a lawsuit. Most likely, the plaintiffs didn't read their new contract closely or even realize what it said.