The Match Group, the New York-based company that owns dating websites Match.com, OkCupid and Tinder, said Tuesday that it has purchased Vancouver-based dating website PlentyOfFish for $575 million.
Match Group CEO Sam Yagan said it was attracted to PlentyOfFish’s consistent growth, and it plans to integrate the Canadian company’s mobile app into its existing family of digital and online dating services.
PlentyOfFish CEO and founder Markus Frind said users of his site’s free matchmaking service will see little difference, though he will apply what the Match Group has learned over the past decade to the user experience on his own website.
”We’ll have access to more data and knowledge within the greater group,” he said.
Frind, the sole owner of PlentyOfFish, said he’ll stay on as CEO and plans to concentrate on expanding the company’s mobile audience. Eighty percent of PlentyOfFish’s traffic now comes from mobile devices.
Frind said there was no individual reason he decided to sell the company, but the time seemed right.
”The company is growing extremely quickly; we’re at the top of the market,” he said. ”I also have a daughter that’s now 10 months old. You start measuring your time in different increments.”
Frind launched the company from his apartment in 2003. By 2008, he had 15 million users. In March of this year, PlentyOfFish surpassed 100 million users, and the company now employs more than 70 people at its downtown Vancouver office.
”We are thrilled to be joining forces with Match,” Frind said. ”My team and I have grown PlentyOfFish into one of the leaders in our category, and I am confident that Match will help accelerate our growth even further.”
PlentyofFish user Janine Gaudette, 35, said the site may lose its appeal to some extent now since it was one of the only major dating sites that was Canadian born and bred.
”The site will now just be another fish in Match Group’s sea of dating sites and I’m not sure if that will hamper or change who uses the site or the user experience,” she said.
The Match Group said the deal is subject to approval from Canada’s federal industry minister and is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.
The Match Group offers dating products through nearly 50 brands in 40 languages around the world.
About 31 million Americans have used a dating site or app, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study. In 2011, a Leger Marketing survey found that 36 percent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 say they’ve participated in online dating. And there are more than 14 million single Canadian adults, a huge market for online matchmakers.
The Match brands and PlentyOfFish both generate revenue through a combination of advertising and paid subscription options.
PlentyOfFish, however, offers a free service that allows users to access features such as messaging and advanced search options that other sites put behind a paywall. The company generates most of its revenue through advertising.