There's more to Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH) than Internet dating.
While Match derives the overwhelming majority of its revenue from its many dating services -- including Match.com, Tinder, and OkCupid -- it also owns an education business, and it generated more than 10% of the company's revenue during the first six months of 2015. At first glance, it may seem like an odd pairing, but Match's education assets fit within the context of its business.
Tutor.com and The Princeton Review
In 2012, Match's then-parent company IAC (NASDAQ:IAC) acquired education platform Tutor.com. In 2014, it merged Tutor.com with The Princeton Review. That combined education firm was placed under its Match Group segment, which was partially spun off to the public last year. IAC continues to own the majority of Match Group.
In Match Group's S-1 filing with the SEC, the company broke its sales down by dating and non-dating revenue, but it could've just as easily labeled its non-dating revenue education. In the first six months of 2014, Match's education business generated just $9 million -- about 2% of its total revenue. But in the first six months of 2015, that figure surged to nearly $51 million, or about 10.5% of Match's total revenue. That gain was driven by the acquisition of The Princeton Review in the second half of 2014.
The Princeton Review's business -- which centers around test preparation courses -- doesn't mesh particularly well with Match's other brands, but it gave Match a trusted name with which to leverage its Tutor.com service, which offers 24/7 online tutoring. students and universities, The Princeton Review's annual ranking list of colleges is highly regarded.
The Princeton Review's website continues to emphasize its test preparation courses and college rankings, but it also includes a section highlighting its online tutoring services. Powered by Tutor.com's network, The Princeton Review's online tutoring service pairs students with individual tutors, who can offer help in a wide variety of subjects (math, writing, science, etc.). Individual subscription plans are offered, with three hours of monthly tutoring going for $115.
From a business standpoint, the fundamental aspects of Match's dating and education businesses are similar, even if the stated aims of the individuals using the service (romance in one case, education in the other) differ. Both rely on consistent customer acquisition, subscriptions, and matching individuals. In its S-1 filing, Match explains that it acquired The Princeton Review because "it relies on many of the same competencies as our dating business, such as paid customer acquisition, a combination of free and paid features, deep understanding of the lifetime values of customers, and strong expertise in user interface development."
Should investors care?
For now, Match's education business remains a modest contributor to its financials, and the potential returns for investors are likely to be driven more by trends affecting online dating than students' demand for tutors. Still, it's worth watching because it could be a bigger factor over time.
Match has been a prolific acquirer of companies (most recently dating site PlentyOfFish), and that's unlikely to change. In its S-1 filing, it reiterates its commitment to purchase additional firms. Many of these may be other dating companies, but Match could also use its capital to expand its education portfolio. "It is possible that we may acquire other non-dating assets," Match writes.
Match's business is driven by matching people -- romantic partners or otherwise.