It’s Time to Buy Match Group Again, Analyst Says | #facebookdating | #tinder | #pof

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Shares of
Match Group,
down from late-summer highs, could get back to near those levels, an analyst wrote Thursday.

Match Group stock (ticker: MTCH) was up 78% in 2019 through Wednesday’s close at $75.96, but it is way off from early August intraday highs of near $95. Thursday, Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein upgraded the shares to Outperform from Perform, setting a target of $89 for the stock price. The average among analysts tracked by FactSet is $94.

Helfstein says a number of factors, including an “overall correction in momentum names” and concerns about debt should
(IAC) spin off its majority stake in the company, have combined to pull the stock down to attractive levels. Also on the list are a September lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission alleging the use of fake accounts on, and the U.S. launch of
(FB) Dating.

Read: Will Facebook Dating Be a Threat to Tinder? History Says Match Stock Will Be Fine.

Barron’s covered another analyst’s take on Facebook Dating and Match earlier this week. Meanwhile, Match called the FTC’s lawsuit “meritless” in a statement last month.

Helfstein’s financial forecasts—including estimates that 2019 and 2020 earnings per share will be $1.71 and $1.91, respectively—are unchanged. Both figures are lower than the consensus on Wall Street.

He cited third-party data indicating continued strength in downloads of the Tinder app and in-house survey research suggesting plenty of room to attract single people who aren’t using dating apps generally. “There is still a long runway for user growth,” Helfstein wrote.

Match’s shares were up 0.3% to $76.20 near midday as the Nasdaq-100 was ahead 0.7%.

Email David Marino-Nachison at Follow him at @marinonachison and follow Barron’s Next at @barronsnext.

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