IAC/InterActiveCorp has always had a thing for online dating. But now things are getting really serious.
The media conglomerate, whose chairman is Barry Diller, has been snatching up dating sites for the last several years, increasing its bet on the fertile terrain combining technology and romance, where many couples are meeting these days. Through its two giant dating sites, Match.com and OkCupid, IAC was already the largest player in the online dating market when it announced last December that it was consolidating those sites along with its other smaller dating site holdings into one division, the Match Group.
Then in March, IAC increased its majority stake in Tinder, a mobile app that is ground zero for the hookup culture, paying an undisclosed amount that is believed to have valued Tinder in the billions. Then, in July, it acquired most of HowAboutWe, a Brooklyn-based dating site, further adding to its collection of “personals” brands that include Chemistry.com and Meetic.
IAC is organized in an unusual way. Less a traditional media company than a conjoined set of loosely affiliated Internet outfits, IAC also owns companies in the search, e-commerce, video and media industries. But over the last decade, it has systematically bought its way into the dating market, which Mr. Diller saw as a lucrative opportunity for an online business long before many others. As of the end of last year, IAC said it hosted 30 million active users among its dating properties, 3.4 million of which are regular paid subscribers. The Match Group is now responsible for about one quarter of IAC’s overall revenue.
About one of every 10 American adults has used a dating website or mobile app, according to a 2013 report from Pew Research. And, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, about 35 percent of couples married from 2005 to 2012 met online.
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