November 6, 2018 / 9:37 PM / 13 days ago

Tinder-owner Match profit forecast disappoints, shares slide

(Reuters) - Match Group Inc forecast current-quarter adjusted earnings below analyst estimates on Tuesday, hit by higher spending for Tinder and its other dating apps, sending its shares down 10 percent in after-market trade.

Match Group, which plays cupid through its PlentyOfFish and Match.com services, has been investing heavily to take its cash cow Tinder to emerging markets and promote its other dating services as competition in the dating market heats up.

Marketing costs are expected to rise about 20 percent year-over-year for Tinder and its other brands like Hinge and Pairs.

The company expects fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to be between $165 million to $170 million, below estimates of $170.9 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company also forecast fourth-quarter revenue to be between $440 million and $450 million, below estimates of $454 million, largely due to a hit of about $6 million from a stronger dollar as well as indirect revenue softness because of General Data Protection Regulation and lower impressions.

The legislation was put in place by the European Union in May to protect personal information and has forced online players to make sure they have permission from users to handle their personal data.

Tinder — where users swipe left or right on their phones to signal interest in a person — added 344,000 average subscribers in the latest quarter, bringing the total to 4.1 million.

Match Group’s total average subscribers rose to 8.1 million in the third quarter.

Match Group said it now expects full-year revenue to approach the top end of its prior forecast of $1.68 billion to $1.72 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.72 billion.

Net earnings attributable to shareholders fell to $130.2 million, or 44 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $287.7 million, or 98 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 39 cents per share, above analysts’ estimates of 36 cents.

Total revenue rose 29.3 percent to $443.9 million, beating estimates of $438.1 million.

Dallas-based Match’s shares have risen nearly 90 percent in the last 12 months, despite a 22 percent plunge in May caused by Facebook’s plan to create its own dating service.

Shares of the company were down 9.4 percent at $46.64.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Bernard Orr

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