The Match Group enjoyed a respectable pop in its debut as a publicly traded company on Thursday, despite both a difficult market for initial public offerings and an ill-timed interview by the head of its Tinder dating app.
Shares of the company, which also owns the dating site Match.com and OkCupid, opened at $ 13.50, up 12.5 percent from the initial offering price. That valued the company at about $ 3.2 billion.
Matchâs pop may not have been as heady as that of Square, the payments processor co-founded by Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame. But Match at least priced its I.P.O. within its expected range, albeit at the bottom, while Squareâs was priced $ 2 below the bottom of its range.
Though many investors have begun to question whether technology companies looking to go public deserve the valuations they have commanded from private investors, Match is different in several notable ways. Perhaps most important, it is profitable, having earned $ 84.7 million during the first nine months of the year.
Yet it faced some pressure from investors as it sought to price its offering on Wednesday night, according to Gregory R. Blatt, the companyâs chairman. He declined to blame any one factor, allowing that the pricing may have been affected by Squareâs troubles, by general investor wariness about I.P.O.s or some other factor.
âI will say that itâs certainly our belief that there were factors that made us pay a heavier I.P.O. discount,â he said in a telephone interview. âInvestors exacted a higher liquidity price than usual.â
One matter that did not affect the pricing, he argued, was an interview by The Evening Standard of London with Sean Rad, the chief executive of Tinder, published on Wednesday. In it, Mr. Rad, the appâs young co-founder, boasted of being pursued by a âsupermodelâ interested in sex.
In a now-infamous exchange, Mr. Rad, struggling for the proper term for âsomeone who gets turned on by intellectual stuff,â ventured a guess: âI want to say sodomy?â (He most likely meant âsapiosexual.â)
Match subsequently filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosing that it did not approve of or condone the article and noting that Mr. Rad is not a director or executive of Match itself.
Mr. Blatt described the interview as âunfortunate,â with unspecified things taken out of context and âfrankly inaccurate.â But, he added, he did not believe it had any impact on the companyâs stock sale.
Having made it onto the public markets, Match is unlikely to change its strategy of building out its various dating apps. The companyâs key to success, according to Mr. Blatt, is its ability to attract and retain users.
âItâs not too hard to build a dating product,â he said. âIf you can code, you can build one. But you need lots and lots of users to succeed.â
Yet going public does give the company a stock that it can use for further acquisitions, though Mr. Blatt said that nothing was planned for the near term.