Investors 'swipe right' in Tinder-owner Match's debut

Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:03pm EST
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By Richa Naidu and Sai Sachin R

(Reuters) - Shares of media mogul Barry Diller's Match Group Inc (MTCH.O: Quote), the owner of popular dating site and mobile app Tinder, jumped as much as 24 percent in their market debut on Thursday, valuing the company at $3.57 billion.

Match Group, which touts itself as the world's No. 1 dating company, is seen as the crown jewel of Diller's media properties and has driven parent IAC/InterActiveCorp's IACI.O profit and revenue in recent quarters.

The U.S. online romance market, worth more than $2 billion a year, has thrived as instant messaging, photo-sharing and geolocation services grow in popularity.

One of Match Group's most popular offerings is Tinder, a mobile app on which people "swipe right" or "swipe left" to signal their willingness – or not – to meet prospective partners.

The company's solid opening, along with the stellar debut of mobile payments company Square Inc (SQ.N: Quote) on Thursday, offered hope to startups hoping to go public. Square's shares rose as much as 64 percent in their debut.

"It's very good that Square went public and moved up because now people will be more open to tech stocks next year," said Francis Gaskins, president of research firm IPO Desktop.

Gaskins said shares of both Square and Match Group had risen as their offerings had been priced low. Shares of Match were priced at $12 each, at the lower end of the expected range of $12-$14.

The stock traded at $14.51 at 1:21 p.m. ET on the Nasdaq.   Continued...

Greg Blatt, chairman of Match Group, takes part in celebrations for the company's IPO at the NASDAQ stock exchange, New York November 20, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson