Is Love a Good Investment? With Match Group, Yes

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Shares of Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH ) gained as much as 21% yesterday after the company reported that earnings tallied a solid 45 cents per share -almost triple last year's total of 17 cents per share and a substantial 13 cents better than Wall Street's consensus. And even after that jump, MTCH stock is trading just barely above it's estimated long-term earnings growth, suggesting investors should indeed be bullish on love - or at least bullish on the journey to find it.

For those less familiar, Match Group isn't just the company responsible for , which was launched over two decades ago. It also launched the well-known app Tinder in 2012, which is the top-grossing dating app worldwide, according to the Match investor relations website . And there are plenty of other niche offerings as well, including PlentyOfFish (acquired in 2015), okcupid (acquired in 2011), BlackPeopleMet, PetPeopleMeet, RepublicanPeopleMeet, and … well, you get the idea.

MTCH Stock Continues Its Growth

As more people turn to the internet and their phones for just about everything, Match Group has drawn in more and more customers - many of which are actually paying for premium versions of its platforms. But let's start with the user growth. Match Group has grown subscribers every quarter since at least the end of 2014, with a compound annual growth rate of 26% during that time period.

Tinder has posted an especially strong expansion and played a large role in Wall Street's excitement yesterday. Before we look at the app's numbers, let's talk business model.

The free product, which does bring in money through ads, puts a cap on the number of times you can swipe right (AKA express interest) in other users on the app. With Tinder Plus, though, you can play the numbers game if you'd like, swiping right as much as your heart desires- plus get access to a few other features. And Tinder Gold is an even more expensive upsell.

In the most recent quarter, Tinder's direct revenue increased 136% year-over-year, in part due to subscriber growth (88% year-over-year), but also because average revenue per user expanded by 33%, in part thanks to a "healthy adoption of Tinder Gold."

Of course, the question is whether or not this growth for Match Group can continue - and the data suggests it will. From 2015 to 2017, revenue for Match Group as a whole expanded by almost 50%. This year, sales should grow by 27%, followed by 15% next year. On the bottom line, earnings should double this year and then settle down to 25% per year growth over the next half-decade.

In addition to growing subscribers and improving monetization on its existing platforms, Match Group has 51% ownership of Hinge as of June, plus the option to acquire additional shares, and is launching two new apps this year. Still, Tinder is where I believe the growth will come from - and its monetization looks strong.

So if you're wondering whether would you should be bullish on dating, MTCH stock suggests the answer is yes.

As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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The post Is Love a Good Investment? With Match Group, Yes appeared first on InvestorPlace .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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