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LendingTree warns COVID-19 will impact Q1 revenue

LendingTree Inc., an online marketplace for consumer loans and mortgages, has issued a first-quarter profit warning related to the COVID-19 pandemic that stated it will suspend its annual revenue guidance and report lower first-quarter revenue as the market for unsecured credit tightens up.

LendingTree now expects first-quarter revenue to come in between $280 million and $285 million, compared with prior estimates of $296 million to $306 million.  

"The downstream impacts of social distancing and related economic pullback are affecting our marketplace participants to varying degrees," J.D. Moriarty, chief financial officer of LendingTree, said in a press release. "Of our three reportable segments — home, consumer and insurance — we expect the consumer segment to be the most impacted as unsecured credit and the flow of capital in certain corners of the market have tightened."

Within the consumer segment, in each of the credit card, personal loan and small business categories, there is a 60% to 80% drop off in near-term lender demand, reflecting uncertainty about the length of the recession. The impact will be much less on LendingTree's home and insurance segments. 

Moriarty said the company expects to remain profitable for the rest of the year. 

Adjusted EBITDA, or net income, excluding interest, income taxes, amortization of intangibles and depreciation, is still expected to range between $43 million to $46 million.