Match Downplays Facebook and Produces Stunning Growth

There were a lot of questions going into Match Group's (NASDAQ: MTCH) earnings release. Just a week before, reports emerged that Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) planned on adding dating features to its ubiquitous social media site, causing Match's stock to dive 25%.

Facebook has had success at poaching ideas from competitors before, like its development of Instagram Stories, which offered features similar to those found on Snapchat. With more than 2.2 billion monthly active users, it was feared that Facebook could emerge as a major competitor to Match's dating apps, which include Tinder, OkCupid, Match, PlentyOfFish, and many others.

Match Group results: The raw numbers

What happened at Match Group this quarter?

For the just completed first quarter, Match Group said its revenue of $407 million, which increased 36% year over year, was the highest quarter-over-quarter revenue growth since the company went public in November 2015. Earnings per share of $0.33 tripled compared to the prior-year quarter, and the results beat analysts' expectations for revenue of $386 million and earnings per share of $0.19.

Tinder continued to be the main growth driver, with members increasing sequentially by 368,000, and adding 1.6 million over the previous year. The increase drove Tinder's revenue, which increased 150% compared to the prior-year quarter. Members are also spending more, with average revenue per user (ARPU) up 37% year over year as a result of user adoption of Tinder Gold, the premium version of the app.

Match's total subscribers hit 7.43 million, up 26% year over year, while ARPU of $0.58 grew 8% compared to the prior-year quarter.

"We continue to deliver innovative products that customers across our portfolio of brands find valuable, and we are not slowing down anytime soon," commented Mandy Ginsberg, Match's CEO. "I am highly confident that our product roadmap, particularly at Tinder, will allow us to remain the clear leader in this category and deliver continued growth for Match Group shareholders."

The biggest question, of course, was whether Facebook's move into the dating space would have an adverse impact on the company's business. During the conference call, Ginsberg said, "I don't think that people are going to be comfortable mixing their dating lives with Facebook." She went on to say that most people on Facebook didn't want to share details of their love life, or be contacted by strangers on a site that is primarily used for connecting with friends and family.

Looking ahead

Given the company's impressive results, Match raised its full-year forecast and provided the following guidance:

  • Total revenue in a range of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion, up from the $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion it forecast just last quarter, which would represent 24% year-over-year growth at the midpoint of its guidance.
  • Adjusted EBITDA between $600 million and $650 million -- up from the $550 million to $600 million in its previous forecast, which would represent 33% year-over-year growth at the midpoint of its guidance.

It remains to be seen if Facebook's move into the space will have any meaningful impact on the company's future results. Match is banking on its 20-year head start and innovative products to maintain its significant lead in the space.

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Danny Vena owns shares of Facebook and Match Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool recommends Match Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.