Tinder owner tempers forecast as Omicron woes persist

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The dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo

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Feb 1 (Reuters) - Match Group Inc (MTCH.O) softened its full-year revenue forecast on Tuesday as the Tinder owner expects the Omicron COVID-19 variant to continue hindering dates and meet-ups.

The impact from the pandemic has persisted, especially across certain Asian markets like Japan, while rising Omicron infections reduced mobility in many markets from early December.

Its shares fell more than 3% in extended trading, as the owner of Hinge and OkCupid also missed fourth-quarter revenue estimates, hurt by increased competition from rival Bumble (BMBL.O).

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Match forecast total revenue growth between 15% and 20% for 2022, compared with an earlier expectation for the rate to approach 20%.

"The strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to several other currencies also impacted our Q4 performance," the Dallas, Texas-based company said in a statement.

Match expects first-quarter revenue between $790 million and $800 million, below estimates of $835.7 million, according to Refinitiv IBES.

The company also said it is focusing on the international expansion of Hinge and expects to begin launching the app in select European countries in the second quarter.

Hoping to attract more digital users, Match has been sharpening focus on the "metaverse" as well, especially in the Korean market with its Hyperconnect brand. The metaverse is an online realm where people can connect through augmented or virtual reality.

Net loss attributable to Match Group shareholders came in at $168.6 million, or 60 cents per share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $149 million, or 50 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 24% to $806.1 million, missing expectations of $818.1 million.

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Reporting by Richard Rohan Francis and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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