Dallas online dating firm Match Group trades higher in IPO

Match Group had its initial public offering Thursday on the Nasdaq exchange.
Match Group had its initial public offering Thursday on the Nasdaq exchange. AP

Dallas-based Match Group, owner of the online-dating services Tinder, Match and OkCupid, closed more than 20 percent above its IPO price on its first day of trading Thursday.

The unit of billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp raised almost $400 million in its IPO. Match sold 33.3 million shares for $12 each, according to a statement, after offering them for $12 to $14. Based on the IPO price, the company has a market value of about $2.9 billion.

The shares, equivalent to about a 14 percent stake in the company, is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol MTCH. Match rose 23 percent to close at $14.74.

Match’s IPO will give public investors a way to bet on the online-dating behemoth, instead of indirectly holding shares of parent company IAC. It’s been a relatively slow time for U.S.- listed technology and Internet offerings: 26 companies raised $7.1 billion this year through Tuesday, compared with 47 IPOs for 2014 that raised $34.3 billion.

“We recognize it’s a choppy market,” Greg Blatt, Match’s chairman, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We wouldn’t have priced it where we priced it if we expected it to trade down.”

Match said in a separate filing Wednesday that an interview with Sean Rad, CEO of its Tinder app, published in the U.K.’s Evening Standard newspaper “was not approved or condoned” by the company. Rad isn’t a director of Match and wasn’t authorized to make statements on behalf of the company, and figures included in the article on Tinder’s user base and the number of daily “swipes” were “inaccurate,” according to the filing.

The article, in which 29-year-old Rad says he’s “addicted” to the Tinder service and falls in love with a new girl “every other week,” follows other ill-timed interviews during the initial public offerings of technology giants. Match does not plan to remove Rad from his position, Blatt said in the interview Thursday, adding that the article took a lot out of context and that Rad should be careful in how he speaks with certain reporters.

“It’s certainly not his finest moment, but I think he’s created an incredible asset and I’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” he said. “I don’t think we need to put a gag on him.”