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Match.com, Tinder company headed for IPO

Match.com and Tinder will seek suitors in the investment world, as their parent company announced plans to pursue an initial public offering for the unit that controls those dating services. Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) said Thursday that it will turn The Match Group, which includes several dating sites and apps, into a public company. The IPO will test the market’s valuation of services that help potential couples find each other for long-term romance, quick hookups and everything in between.

In addition to Match.com and Tinder, The Match Group operates OkCupid and The Princeton Review, among other businesses. Its online dating businesses have about 3.4 million subscribers, according to an SEC filing. Dating revenue rose 6% in 2014 for The Match Group, which posted $240.9 million in operating profit for the year. IAC said The Match Group would issue less than 20% of its shares when it completes its IPO in the fourth quarter. IAC will retain control of the rest of The Match Group, which will continue to be led by Chairman Greg Blatt and CEO Sam Yagan.

The company also today appointed Joey Levin, formerly CEO of its Search & Applications unit, as CEO of IAC. Meanwhile, IAC Chief Financial Officer Jeff Kip is resigning “to spend more time with his family in Boston and to pursue other interests,” IAC said in a statement. He will stay with the company for a short time while it searches for a new CFO.

“Under the superb leadership of Greg Blatt and Sam Yagan, we want to take the step of offering the public the ability to own shares directly in this singular area of Internet activity,” Diller said, crediting The Match Group with fueling a quadrupling in value of IAC’s stock price over the last seven years. Diller, who serves as chairman, controls more than 42% of the voting shares in IAC, giving him significant influence over the company’s direction. New York-based IAC’s brands include About.com, Ask.com, Dictionary.com, The Daily Beast, Vimeo and CollegeHumor.