Match Group, the biggest digital romance service, is out to prove it's the one.The 20-year-old company is spinning out of IAC/Interactive Corp and is slated to debut Thursday on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MTCH.While Match has more than twice the market share of its biggest competitor and has bulked up through acquisitions, the dating market has failed to excite Internet investors, who have poured money into search, social networking and e-commerce. dating services businesses will generate a total of just .4 billion in revenue this year, according to IBISWorld. Despite carrying the ticker symbol LOV, Spark has been pummeled, losing more than half its value since mid-2013 and seeing its market capitalization sink below 0 million.One reason: When a dating site makes a user happy, that person ceases to be a paying customer, at least for a while. Spark Networks, which owns and Christian Mingle.com, has been the lone public market option for U. Match is seeking a valuation of close to billion.Zoosk, a former start-up darling built on the Facebook platform, withdrew its IPO filing in May, more than a year after first registering with the SEC.
In period of creative destruction: Barry Diller "Tinder is the ultimate wild card for investors," BTIG analyst Brandon Ross wrote in a report this week."Management acknowledges that Tinder's user and revenue growth will be somewhat difficult to predict, with greater variability in forecasts the longer you look out." A Match representative didn't respond to a request for comment.Match priced at per share Wednesday night, and raised close to 0 million, making it one of the biggest tech IPOs, behind First Data, according to Ipreo.Payments company Square is also scheduled to sell shares Thursday night in what is likely to be the fifth biggest tech deal of the year, though it was priced at , below the expected price.IAC, the Internet conglomerate chaired by billionaire Barry Diller, will still own 86 percent of Match's stock after the separation.Proceeds of the offering will be used to pay back debt. The business was incubated internally in 2012 and shares many characteristics with the viral messaging and social networking start-ups that have scored monster valuations from Silicon Valley venture capitalists.It has 9.6 million daily active users spending on average more than 35 minutes a day on the app.(The company's CEO, Sean Rad, also caused a bit of controversy Wednesday.Match disavowed some statements Rad made in an interview with the and disputed some company data Rad cited in the interview.) The service opened up to advertisers this year and recently introduced a paid service, starting at a month, for unlimited swipes and advanced features.JMP Securities analyst Ignatius Njoku predicts Tinder will bring in sales of 7 million in 2017, accounting for about 22 percent of Match revenue.With no contribution from Tinder last year, Match's sales increased 11 percent to 3.1 million. Because of its high engagement levels, "we believe Tinder is poised to capitalize on these trends by ramping its advertising platform," Njoku wrote in a Nov. Just as Tinder offers potential growth, it also poses a risk.