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Tinder-owner Match issues dour forecast; shares tumble

FILE PHOTO: The dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration

(Reuters) - Tinder-owner Match Group on Tuesday forecast fourth-quarter revenue below estimates, as stubborn inflation and unrest in some markets weigh on growth at some of its major dating platforms, sending its shares down nearly 8%.

The company said it expected total revenue between $855 million and $865 million for the quarter ending December, which includes the impact of a strong dollar and risk to revenue from Israel.

Analysts were expecting $895.2 million, according to LSEG data.

U.S. consumers are wary of spending on discretionary items such as dating app subscriptions due to economic uncertainties, also prompting advertisers to keep their spending tight. That has, in turn, impacted its dating platforms, which include Hinge, OKCupid, and Plenty of Fish. Tinder, its largest brand, grew revenue by 7% last year compared to its chief rival Bumble, which expanded its top line at twice that rate.

To revive growth in its main apps and counter the threat from Bumble, Match has rolled out several new features, including weekly subscription plans and new engagement and privacy features across Tinder and Hinge.

Tinder last month introduced an invite-only $499 per month offering with perks including the ability to be seen by more users.

In the third quarter ended Sept. 30, revenue grew 9% to $882 million, beating analysts' estimate of $880.6 million, according to LSEG. Sales in the Americas, which accounts for over half of its revenue, rose 10%, while those in Europe were up 17%.

Excluding items, Match earned 57 cents per share, compared with 54 cents.

Direct revenue at Tinder and Hinge, its top two dating platforms, grew 11% and 44% respectively. Paying users across its apps fell 5% to 15.7 million, while revenue per payer' rose 15% to $18.39.

Match and Alphabet's Google reached a settlement that will allow Match to use payment systems other than Google's by March next year. Match said its outlook does not include the impact of the settlement.

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)