Tinder-owner Match Group prices IPO at $12 a share, at low end of range

Match Group, the IAC-owned and -controlled parent company of some of the world’s biggest dating apps and websites, priced its IPO at $US12 per share on Wednesday, at the low-end of its the range it was aiming for.

The IPO price means that Match will become a public company valued at roughly $US2.9 billion.

Match Group’s IPO pricing is the second high-profile IPO on Wednesday to meet with less than feverish investor demand.

Digital payments company Square reportedly priced its IPO at $US9 per share, below the $US11 to $US13 range it was aiming for and giving the company a $US2.9 billion valuation that is roughly half of the level it was valued at as a private company.

Shares of Match Group are expected to begin trading under the “MTCH” symbol on the NASDAQ on Thursday.

The company will raise roughly $US400 million by selling 33.3 million shares to the public, with an option for the underwriters of the offering to purchase an additional 5 million shares.

Match had previously said it hoped to price its IPO somewhere between $US12 a share and $US14 a share.

Match’s IPO price, and Square’s lower-than-expected price, could raise questions about the club of richly valued “unicorn” tech companies and the investors frenzy that has buoyed them until now.

Controlled company

But Match Group is somewhat different than other tech IPOs such as Square. After its IPO, Match will be a “controlled company,” with more than 50% of its shares owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, the internet conglomerate led by media-mogul Barry Diller.

Match Group’s crown jewel is Tinder, one of the most popular dating apps among the 20-something “millennial” audience, allowing users to make rapid-fire judgments about whether someone is date-worthy by swiping on a person’s picture on their mobile phone.

Tinder cofounder and CEO Sean Rad’s recent statements in an interview ahead of the Match Group IPO have raised eyebrows. The interview caused Match to race out an SEC filing disavowing the interview on Thursday.

Match generated revenue of $US752.9 million in the first nine months of the year, up roughly 16% from the same period last year, according to its prospectus. The company earned roughly $US85 million in net income in the first nine months of the year, down from $US99 million in the year-ago period.

Besides its collection of online dating services, Match also owns the Princeton Review test-preparation and college-counseling services.

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