Love is…An IPO; Volkswagen’s “Goodwill”; Snapchat Vs. Facebook Video Smackdown

For the love of money…

Image courtesy of atibodyphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of atibodyphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While the odds of meeting “the one” via online dating are slim, that hasn’t stopped Match Group Inc from making a regulatory filing for an initial public offering on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol MTCH. The company, which also owns Tinder and OKCupid, is looking to raise close to $404 million in order to pay of some of its debt to billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC InterActiveCorp. The company’s, whose value is estimated to be around $3 billion, is looking to sell some 33.3 million shares for somewhere between $12 – $14 a pop. Indeed, online dating is very big business, despite the odds. In 2014, Match Group pulled down $148 million in profit on $88 million in sales. In the last twelve months, the company saw about $1 billion in revenue with sites getting 59 million monthly active users along with 4.7 million paid members. The sites run on 38 languages in close to 200 countries. A lot of the big bucks are coming from mobile users as evidenced by the fact the 68% of new registrations came from mobile devices in just the first six months of the year. So whether you find love, or not, is besides the point. The money comes from the quest to find it.

A little desperate?

Image courtesy of Paul/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Paul/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You know its bad when they start handing out $500 Visa gift cards. And that’s exactly what Volkswagen decided to do in the wake of the company’s emissions software scandal that magically allows some cars to release up to 40 times the legal amount of nitrogen oxide into the air we breathe. The embattled auto company is also giving away $500 in dealership credit. Oh, and three years of free roadside assistance. Did I say free? Well, you basically relinquish your right to sue Volkswagen if you happen to own or lease one of their 11 million affected cars. Don’t worry, though. Only 482,000 of them are currently polluting the United States. So say goodbye to personal lawsuits or class-action participation. Like the one that’s suing Volkswagen to get it to buy back your vehicle for the exact amount you paid. Of course, that’s assuming the lawyers arguing that case actually win. Then there’s the potential $18 billion criminal lawsuit looming against Volkswagen for violating the United States Clean Air Act. Except, you can’t be a part of that one since it would be coming from the government. But you would lose out on any potential future compensation. Once you sign up for one of Volkwagen’s “goodwill package,” you are on your own.  Some Audi drivers will be eligible for the deal, as well. In order to get your $500 Visa gift, dealer credit and free roadside assistance, you have to go to VWDieselInfo.com and sign your life away. Sort of. Then wait four weeks to go shopping. You have until April 30, my emissions spewing friend.

Do I smell an IPO?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Snapchat dissed Facebook once by rejecting the social networks’s $3 billion offer to buy it back in 2013. Now, the messaging app is nipping at Facebook’s heels as it just announced that its daily video views tripled to 6 billion…since May. Facebook’s video views, while doubling to 8 billion, are not considered nearly as impressive, since Facebook’s views are coming from desktop computers and mobile devices, while Snapchat’s views are exclusively done on mobile devices. Those video advertising’s numbers pull in way more cash than your plain old digital ads. One research firm predicts a 42% jump in digital video revenue to $7.5 billion and you can be sure Snapchat and Facebook are going to be fighting it out for as big a share as possible. Especially where apps are concerned, those digits are huge. But there seems to be some dispute as to what counts as a video view and it all depends on where you’re watching it. If you happen to be spending some quality time with your Facebook account, the social media counts a view as three seconds or more. Youtube counts 30 seconds as a bona fide view. But Snapchat charges for views that just less than a second. You be the viewing judge.

Is the Banking Industry About to Get Turned on its Fiscal Head?; Lululemon Posts Some Zen Earnings; Noah’s Ark is in Park;

Want to join the “Club?”

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s time to welcome New York Stock Exchange’s latest IPO darling, Lending Club, trading under the ticker symbol LC (catchy, huh?). The banking industry, however, might not be giving it the warm reception that the rest of Wall Street will be showing it. The Lending Club, whose stock price had been set at $15 per share (and is trading at $23.79 as I write this), sets people up, but not quite like Tinder or match.com. The Lending Club matches borrowers with lenders of money. Founded in 2006 by Renaud Laplanche, Lending Club set out to make borrowing cheaper…and easier, than traditional banks and lending institutions. How very considerate.  Lending Club gets a fee per loan transaction and a  loan transaction can be for as little as $25.00. But with $6 billion in loans, thus far, the loan transactions probably tend to be a bit higher. The company is being watched by the alternative lending industry – and banks, no doubt – because if Lending Club does well – or not, it could indicate success – or failure – for other companies with similar models.

Assume warrior position…

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

See-through yoga pants be damned. It seems design flaws and a fallout with Lulelemon Athletica Inc. founder Chip Wilson could not stop the yoga wear maker from kicking some analyst estimate bootie. Profits for the company came in at close to $60.5 million and $0.42 per share. Online sales were up 27%, as well. Analysts had the company pegged for $0.38 per share. Still, it’s hard to overlook the fact that those numbers were down 8.5% from a year ago when the retailer posted $66 million in profits and $0.45 per share. So it must be a good thing then that the company has big plans to outfit men all over the world in its athletic gear. In fact, Lulelemon hears a $1 billion opportunity knocking with that idea. That’s probably why it opened its first men’s store in New York City last month.  Namaste.

Get your raincoats…

Image courtesy of njaj/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of njaj/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It seems  state funds have dried up for the Kentuck-based Noah’s Ark Encounter, as the $18 million in tax breaks and government funding was just yanked from the folks who are attempting to bring that famous biblical episode to life. The museum, which will be located  conveniently next to the “Creation Museum,” will boast a 500 foot recreation of the famous wooden ark, taking into account the measurements specified in the book of Genesis. However, the reason for the fund-yanking is the company behind the museum, a non-profit subsidiary of Answers in Genesis, plans on hiring based on religion. Meaning if you’re not religious enough, you need not apply – a veritable problem if you are looking to get state funds for a tourist attraction. Naturally, like any money-centered deal that goes south, legal options are being explored by the Creation Museum group with a billboard campaign in Kentucky and…New York (go figure) to counter criticism. In the meantime you can check out the 700,000 square foot Creation Museum, which has attracted some one million visitors since it opened its pearly gates back in 2007.