May 8, 2018 / 8:37 PM / a year ago

Tinder-owner Match plays down Facebook threat, revenue surges 36.4 pct

May 8 (Reuters) - Tinder-owner Match Group Inc reported a 36.4 percent jump in quarterly revenue on Tuesday as it attracted more subscribers to its dating apps and websites, and said Facebook Inc’s plan to create a dating tool will not hurt Tinder.

Tinder, where people swipe right or left to signal interest or not in meeting partners, added 368,000 average subscribers in the first quarter from the previous quarter - lifting total users to 3.5 million.

Net profit attributable to Match shareholders soared to $99.7 million, or 33 cents per share in the three months ended March 31, from a year earlier. The company said the latest quarter included excess tax benefits from the settlement and exercise of stock-based awards.

Total revenue rose to $407.4 million from $298.8 million.

In May, Facebook said it was developing a dating feature for its 2.2 billion monthly users, sending Match shares down 22 percent.

Match Group Chief Executive Officer Mandy Ginsberg said Facebook’s move could be “category expansive”.

“It’s possible that given Facebook’s reach, they could help chip away at the stigma, especially for users who are older and in international markets. And once people try one product, they’ll use more than one,” Ginsberg said in a statement.

Match is stepping up efforts to wean away Tinder users from using their Facebook accounts to log on to the dating service .

The company last year introduced an alternative to the Facebook-login and the number of users who signed up through the social network has declined significantly in North America, according to the company’s investor presentation.

“When given this choice 75 percent of new users opted not to use Facebook,” Ginsberg said.

Analysts have said Facebook’s foray would not likely be a threat to established dating sites, some of which are highly specialized to cater to specific groups.

Some analysts said both services could co-exist, despite Facebook’s deeper pockets and larger, older userbase.

“We don’t view dating as a zero sum game as users tend to traffic in multiple dating apps at any given time,” Cowen and Company analyst John Blackledge wrote in a note after Facebook announced its dating services plan. (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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