What happened

Shares of Match Group Inc. (NASDAQ:MTCH) plunged after the online-dating specialist announced stronger-than-expected third-quarter 2018 results and a special dividend, but followed with disappointing forward guidance.

On the former, Match Group's quarterly revenue climbed 29.3% year over year, to $443.9 million, well ahead of the $430 million to $440 million guidance it provided in August. That translated to adjusted earnings of $0.39 per share, also above the $0.36 per share most investors were expecting.

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So what

Match Group's top-line growth included a 23% increase in average subscribers, to 8.1 million, and a 6% gain in average revenue per user. "Match Group delivered another quarter of strong top and bottom line growth, with Tinder continuing as our growth engine," added Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg. "We are making product and marketing investments in our brands to drive growth across our portfolio."

What's more -- and noting that the company continues to look for "strategically compelling" merger and acquisition opportunities" -- Match Group's board declared a special dividend of $2.00 per share, payable on Dec. 19, 2018 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 5, 2018.

Now what

During the subsequent conference call, however, Match Group told investors to expect revenue in the range of $440 million to $450 million -- up 17% year over year at the midpoint but well below consensus predictions for $454 million. 

To be fair, CFO Gary Swidler elaborated that foreign-exchange headwinds have reduced Match Group's fourth-quarter revenue expectations by roughly $6 million since their call in August. But with shares up more than 90% in the year leading up to this report -- and coupled with the negative impact on impressions caused by both the EU's General Data Protection Regulation initiatives and strategic product changes at non-Tinder brands -- it's no surprise to see Match Group stock pulling back today.

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Match Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.