Tinder owner bets on 'summer of love' to lift revenue as curbs ease

FIEL PHOTO: The dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/Illustration

(Reuters) -Match Group Inc forecast current-quarter revenue above expectations on Tuesday, banking on its online dating apps including Tinder and Hinge attracting more subscribers as easing pandemic curbs encourage people to socialize.

The company expects second-quarter revenue in the range of $680 million to $690 million, 22% to 24% higher than last year and above analysts' estimates of $678.8 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Shares of the company rose about 6% in extended trading.

"As we head into summer, with a growing number of people getting vaccinated, we cannot help but be excited ... Looking forward to a summer of love," Chief Executive Officer Shar Dubey said in a letter to shareholders.

She noted that accelerating re-openings in the United States drove growth at its brands in the reported quarter, and as summer months began last year, the propensity to pay rebounded across the portfolio.

With the pandemic keeping people from meeting one another in person, the company has also been tapping into the fast-growing social discovery space, which lets users discover and connect with people not exclusively for dating as they might never meet them face-to-face.

However, Dubey warned that the post-pandemic recovery is going to take some time to play out as the situation in the rest of the world remains more mixed, with the COVID-19 trends in India, Brazil, Japan and certain European markets worsening.

For the first quarter, Match's total revenue jumped 23% to $668 million versus estimates of $650.7 million, largely powered by a 18% revenue rise at Tinder on average subscriber growth of 15%. Other brands saw a revenue rise of 30%.

Match's average revenue per user rose 9%. Total subscribers increased 12% to 11.1 million.

On a per share basis, the company earned 57 cents, 17 cents more than expected.

(Reporting by Nilanjana Basu and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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