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| 13 September, 2017

Indian matchmaker IPO draws flurry of suitors

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, India, November 9, 2016.

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, India, November 9, 2016.

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
MUMBAI - Matrimony.com, the first pure-play Indian matchmaking website to launch a stock market listing, drew heavy demand for its offering, benefiting from the country's booming IPO market.

Market participants say the enthusiastic investor response could encourage other players in India's $50 billion wedding services market to consider going public. India's broader NSE stock index has surged nearly 25 percent this year and investor interest in IPOs has soared.

Matrimony.com's initial public offering of up to 5 billion rupees ($78 million) was subscribed 4.4 times over as of 7.45 p.m. India time (1415 GMT) on Wednesday, the last day of sale, with applications for over 12.5 million shares received, against the 2.8 million shares on offer, according to data from the National Stock Exchange.

India has seen around 20 IPOs this year and all have been oversubscribed several times over, with a couple of them subscribed more than 100 times over, according to data from Prime Database.

Matrimony.com, backed by U.S. venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, runs bharatmatrimony.com, elitematrimony.com and a host of other marriage services portals.

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In socially conservative India parents are often involved in finding partners for their children and parental consent remains largely a norm.

Dating services such as Tinder have also tried to portray themselves as 'parent approved' in the country of 1.3 billion where live-in relationships are still taboo. Rising internet penetration, spurred by cheap data costs, has also helped more and more Indians go online to hunt for prospective spouses.

Matrimony says it had 3.08 million active customer profiles as of June 30, 2017. Its rivals include websites like Shaadi.com and Info Edge-owned Jeevansathi.com, among others.

The portal also offers websites and apps in multiple Indian languages and it helps customers to look for venues, outfits and photographers among other wedding-related services.

Indian online matchmaking sites will generate bigger business as they become more widely accepted and increasingly attract more users, global consulting firm KPMG and Google said in a report last year.

($1 = 63.9950 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((sankalp.phartiyal@thomsonreuters.com; +91-22-61807186; Reuters Messaging: sankalp.phartiyal.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))