Match Group Faces Near-Term Risk as Coronavirus Could Keep People Off Dating Apps, Analyst Says

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Match Group faces near-term risk as coronavirus could keep people off dating apps, analyst says

Published: Mar 3, 2020

EMILYBARY

REPORTER

Match Group Inc. MTCH, +4.83% could see some impact from the coronavirus as fears about the outbreak “may create a situation in which fewer people will want to go on dates,” wrote Jefferies analyst Brent Thill. He now projects a 14% growth rate for the company, down from a prior estimate of 16%, which he said reflects his “conservative approach to this development.” In general, he thinks Match’s shares face a “challenging setup” and could “remain in the penalty box” following a roughly 17% year-to-date slide. The S&P 500 SPX, +4.60% has dropped 4.4% on the year. Thill is concerned about an iOS subscription-management issue that weighed on fourth-quarter results and could persist into this year. He also said the forthcoming spinoff of Match Group from IAC IAC, +3.05% “poses a technical risk” to Match’s stock with more than 200 million shares coming to the market. “Current IAC shareholders will receive a proportionate amount of new Match shares, but it’s difficult to gauge how many IAC shareholders are long-term Match bulls vs. immediate sellers,” he wrote. Thill has a buy rating on the stock but lowered his price target to $80 from $88.