Match quarterly revenue misses estimates as Tinder subscriber growth slows

(Reuters) – Match Group Inc missed Wall Street’s quarterly revenue estimates on Tuesday, as sequential subscriber growth on its popular dating app, Tinder, fell to its lowest in at least a year, sending shares down 10% after the bell.

The online dating service provider also forecast first-quarter revenue in the range of $545 million to $555 million, below analysts’ average estimate of $562.2 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Tinder added about 200,000 average subscribers in the fourth quarter, taking its total average subscriber count to nearly 5.9 million. The app enjoys nearly 45% market share, according to research firm Apptopia.

The owner of OkCupid and PlentyOfFish faces stiff competition from a host of rivals including Bumble and Facebook Inc’s dating service, amid an ongoing lawsuit from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a pending spin-off from parent IAC/InterActiveCorp.

In the third quarter, 437,000 users signed up on Tinder, taking its average subscriber count to 5.7 million.

Match has been investing heavily to market its money-spinner, Tinder, in emerging markets including India and Latin America, as well as promoting its other services including Hinge, as competition in the online dating space heats up.

Match’s total operating expenses rose 19.8% to $366.9 million in the fourth quarter.

Total revenue rose 19.6% to $547.2 million in the quarter, missing analysts’ average estimate of $552.9 million.

Match Group’s net earnings attributable to shareholders rose to $132.2 million, or 45 cents per share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $115.5 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)