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Bumble Hits Record Low as It Plans App Overhaul to Revive Growth

Bumble Hits Record Low as It Plans App Overhaul to Revive Growth
The Bumble logo on a smartphone arranged in New York, US, on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Bumble Inc. released earnings figures on November 7. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Bumble Inc. shares fell to a record low after it announced a weaker-than-expected outlook for sales, underscoring concerns about slowing user growth in the US online dating industry. The company is also cutting about one-third of its workforce after a recent executive shakeup and an overhaul of the app.

The Austin-based company will eliminate about 350 roles globally, it said Tuesday while reporting quarterly results. The cuts will help centralize engineering and product teams in fewer locations and accelerate decision-making so the company can prioritize artificial intelligence and safety features, Chief Executive Officer Lidiane Jones said on a call with analysts. Bumble had more than 950 full-time employees at the end of 2022, of which about 770 are located outside of the US, according to a separate filing.

The company expects to incur about $20 million to $25 million of non-recurring charges as a result of the layoffs. Bumble will save about $55 million a year from the job cuts, of which it expects to “selectively reinvest approximately $15 million in areas of product, engineering, safety and brand that will help drive long-term growth,” Chief Financial Officer Anuradha Subramanian said.

Bumble also gave a forecast for revenue in the current quarter of $262 million to $268 million, falling short of the average analyst estimate of $277.6 million. In the fourth quarter, revenue was $273.6 million, also missing estimates. Shares fell as much as 11% to a record low of $11.72 on Wednesday as markets opened in New York.

Bumble App Slows |

Bumble is undergoing an organizational shift after founder Whitney Wolfe Herd announced in November she was stepping down as CEO and transitioning into the role of executive chair. Jones, who joined from Salesforce Inc.’s Slack Technologies in January, named four new C-suite executives at Bumble, including two from her former organization, last week.

The new team will oversee a major revamp of the dating app in the second quarter, its first in two years, to create a stronger appeal to younger users, Jones said. The company wants to revive slowing payer growth, which it has seen since late 2021, as the numerous product features it introduced in the past 18 months have slowed overall app performance and cluttered user experience, Jones added. The app’s higher priced, “Premium Plus” subscription tier launched in December did not bring the “incremental uplift” the company had expected and is also due for a revamp, the executives said.

The CEO said the population of active users is undergoing a “generational transition that rightfully expects more” from their dating experiences.

“We have a lot of users today that love the paradigm of the online dating — swiping and discovery and searching — but there’s also a set of users that want more flexibility to be able to experience and discover people in a more organic and natural way,” Jones said on the call.

Dating app rival Match Group Inc. has similarly seen unfavorable user trends at its biggest brand Tinder, with the number of paying users shrinking for five consecutive quarters when it reported results in January. It has also come under investor pressure to deliver on a turnaround with product changes, and the company has said it expects to return to user growth in the second half of the year.

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