Tinder-owner Match is a buy because threat from Facebook is not ‘material’: UBS


Match Group’s stock plunge this month is a great buying opportunity, according to one Wall Street firm.

UBS raised its rating to buy from neutral for Match Group shares, saying Facebook’s entry into the online dating business will not significantly hurt the company.

Match Group reported better than expected first-quarter earnings results Tuesday, sparking a 1.5 percent rally in its stock the following day. But the company’s share price is still down more than 20 percent through Wednesday since Facebook announced it will launch a dating feature on May 1.

“Despite Facebook’s recent product announcement, we see the scaled assets of user momentum, profit dollars for marketing efficiency [for Match] … being heavily discounted by the market vs. just a few months ago,” analyst Eric Sheridan wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. “We don’t place a high probability on Facebook having a material impact on MTCH’s future growth potential … We see MTCH again presenting investors with an attractive risk/reward at current valuation.”

The company’s stock rose 4.8 percent Thursday after the report.

Match Group owns more than 45 online dating brands including Match, Tinder and OKCupid.

Sheridan reiterated his $48 price target for Match Group shares, representing 30 percent upside to Wednesday’s close.

The analyst said Tinder’s demographic is younger than Facebook’s core audience. He noted there are 600 million “unattached singles” worldwide with roughly 80 percent not currently using a dating service. Match has said the average online dating customer uses nearly 3 products at the same time, Sheridan said.

“We do not only believe that there is still significant runway for Tinder, we also think that even in a scenario where Facebook gains traction within dating, there is enough ‘room to grow’ for multiple players,” he wrote.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this story.


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