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LENDINGTREE PROVIDES UPDATE TO 2Q 2022 FINANCIAL GUIDANCE

LENDINGTREE PROVIDES UPDATE TO 2Q 2022 FINANCIAL GUIDANCE
PR Newswire
CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 23, 2022

Company remains focused on strategic imperatives despite persistent inflation and interest rate-driven headwinds
CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 23, 2022 /PR…

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LENDINGTREE PROVIDES UPDATE TO 2Q 2022 FINANCIAL GUIDANCE

PR Newswire

Company remains focused on strategic imperatives despite persistent inflation and interest rate-driven headwinds

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), the nation's leading online financial services marketplace, today announced revised guidance for the current quarter.

"Our variable marketing model continues to serve us well as difficult economic forces have persisted, and in many instances worsened, so far this year.  Despite rapid increases in interest rates, rampant consumer price inflation, and looming recession fears presenting persistent headwinds for some of our operating segments, our diversified business model and strong balance sheet allow us to continue to strengthen our competitive position while navigating shorter-term macro driven challenges," said Doug Lebda, Chairman and CEO.  "This year we remain focused on our key strategic initiatives to create even more useful, usable, and desirable experiences for consumers that come to LendingTree for their borrowing and insurance needs.  We are happy with the pace of execution on these plans and expect the positive impact from them to begin to manifest in the quarters ahead."

Chief Financial Officer, Trent Ziegler added, "The challenging interest rate environment that progressed through this quarter combined with annual inflation persistently running above 8% has presented additional challenges for many of our mortgage lending and insurance partners.  We have seen the most significant impact in our Home segment as mortgage rates have nearly doubled over the last six months, causing a sharp decline in refinance volumes and more recent pressure on purchase activity.  Although our Insurance segment continues to rebound from the trough in 4Q 2021, the recovery has been slower than expected as demand from our carrier partners remains volatile as premium increases continue to chase inflation.  On a positive note, our Consumer segment continues to perform quite well, as we expect approximately 40% growth in the quarter.  Annual guidance provided in our 1Q earnings announcement is under review, and we intend to provide a revised outlook when we announce formal 2Q results next month.  Despite near-term headwinds, our balance sheet remains incredibly solid, we expect continued positive cash flow generation, and we continue to operate from a position of strength."

2Q 2022 Preliminary Results

  • Revenue is now anticipated in the range of $259 - $264 million vs prior range of $283 - $293 million.
  • Variable marketing margin is now anticipated to be $88 - $92 million vs prior range of $100 - $106 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is now anticipated to be in the range of $26 - $29 million vs prior range of $35 - $40 million.

LendingTree is not able to provide a reconciliation of projected variable marketing margin or adjusted EBITDA to the most directly comparable expected GAAP results due to the unknown effect, timing and potential significance of the effects of legal matters and tax considerations. Expenses associated with legal matters and tax considerations have in the past, and may in the future, significantly affect GAAP results in a particular period.  

LendingTree's Principles of Financial Reporting

LendingTree reports variable marketing margin and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization, as adjusted for certain items discussed below ("Adjusted EBITDA") as non-GAAP measures supplemental to GAAP. 

Variable marketing margin is defined as revenue less variable marketing expense.  Variable marketing expense is defined as the expense attributable to variable costs paid for advertising, direct marketing and related expenses, and excluding overhead, fixed costs and personnel-related expenses.  The majority of these variable advertising costs are expressly intended to drive traffic to our websites and these variable advertising costs are included in selling and marketing expense on the Company's consolidated statements of operations and consolidated income.  Variable marketing margin is a measure of the operating efficiency of the Company's operating model, measuring revenue after subtracting variable marketing and advertising costs that directly influence revenue.  The Company's operating model is highly sensitive to the amount and efficiency of variable marketing expenditures, and the Company's proprietary systems are able to make rapidly changing decisions concerning the deployment of variable marketing expenditures (primarily but not exclusively online and mobile advertising placement) based on proprietary and sophisticated analytics.  Variable marketing margin is a primary metric by which the Company measures the effectiveness of its marketing efforts.

EBITDA is defined as net income from continuing operations excluding interest, income taxes, amortization of intangibles and depreciation.  Adjusted EBITDA is defined as EBITDA excluding (1) non-cash compensation expense, (2) non-cash impairment charges, (3) gain/loss on disposal of assets, (4) gain/loss on investments, (5) restructuring and severance expenses, (6) litigation settlements and contingencies, (7) acquisitions and dispositions income or expense (including with respect to changes in fair value of contingent consideration), and (8) one-time items.  Adjusted EBITDA is a primary metric by which LendingTree evaluates the operating performance of its businesses, on which its marketing expenditures and internal budgets are based and by which management and many employees are compensated in most years.

The most directly comparable GAAP measure for both variable marketing margin and adjusted EBITDA is net income from continuing operations.

LendingTree endeavors to compensate for the limitations of these non-GAAP measures by also providing the comparable GAAP measures with equal or greater prominence and descriptions of the reconciling items, including quantifying such items, to derive the non-GAAP measures.  However, LendingTree is not able to provide a reconciliation of projected variable marketing margin or adjusted EBITDA to the most directly comparable expected GAAP results due to the unknown effect, timing and potential significance of the effects of legal matters and tax considerations.  Expenses associated with legal matters and tax considerations have in the past, and may in the future, significantly affect GAAP results in a particular period.  These non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.

Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

The matters contained in the discussion above may be considered to be "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations or anticipations of LendingTree and members of our management team.  Factors currently known to management that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include the following: uncertainty regarding the duration and scope of the coronavirus referred to as COVID-19 pandemic; actions governments and businesses take in response to the pandemic, including actions that could affect levels of advertising activity; the impact of the pandemic and actions taken in response to the pandemic on national and regional economies and economic activity; the pace of recovery when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides; adverse conditions in the primary and secondary mortgage markets and in the economy, particularly interest rates; default rates on loans, particularly unsecured loans; demand by investors for unsecured personal loans; the effect of such demand on interest rates for personal loans and consumer demand for personal loans; seasonality of results; potential liabilities to secondary market purchasers; changes in the Company's relationships with network lenders, including dependence on certain key network lenders; breaches of network security or the misappropriation or misuse of personal consumer information; failure to provide competitive service; failure to maintain brand recognition; ability to attract and retain consumers in a cost-effective manner; the effects of potential acquisitions of other businesses, including the ability to integrate them successfully with LendingTree's existing operations; accounting rules related to contingent consideration and excess tax benefits or expenses on stock-based compensation that could materially affect earnings in future periods; ability to develop new products and services and enhance existing ones; competition; allegations of failure to comply with existing or changing laws, rules or regulations, or to obtain and maintain required licenses; failure of network lenders or other affiliated parties to comply with regulatory requirements; failure to maintain the integrity of systems and infrastructure; liabilities as a result of privacy regulations; failure to adequately protect intellectual property rights or allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights; and changes in management. These and additional factors to be considered are set forth under "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2021, in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2022, and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  LendingTree undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results or expectations.

About LendingTree, Inc.

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) is the nation's leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions.  LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search and choosing the option that best fits their financial needs.  Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinancing, personal loans, credit cards, business loans, auto loans, student loan refinancing, and insurance including auto and homeowners' policies.  Through the My LendingTree platform, members receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health.  My LendingTree proactively compares consumers' credit accounts against offers on our network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money.  

LendingTree, Inc. is headquartered in Charlotte, NC.  For more information, please visit www.lendingtree.com.

Investor Relations Contact:
investors@lendingtree.com

Media Contact:
press@lendingtree.com

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SOURCE LendingTree, Inc.

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Government

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

New Hampshire’s Republican…

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New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed a bill that would have made Ivermectin available without a prescription.

Ivermectin tablets packaged for human use. (Natasha Holt/The Epoch Times)

The Republican governor vetoed the bill on June 24, the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Some fellow Republicans questioned the timing.

It certainly seemed like a convenient way to bury a veto of a bill that won support from the vast majority of Republicans in New Hampshire,” JR Hoell, co-founder of the conservative watchdog group RebuildNH, told The Epoch Times.

Hoell is a former four-term House Republican planning to seek re-election after a four-year hiatus from the the New Hampshire legislature.

Earlier this year, the New Hampshire Department of Children Youth and Family (DCYF) tried to take custody of Hoell’s 13-year old son after a nurse reported him for giving human-grade ivermectin to the teen months earlier.

Several states have introduced bills to make human-grade ivermectin available without a prescription at a brick and mortar store. Currently, it can be ordered online from another country. In April, Tennessee became the the first state to sign such a measure into law. New Hampshire lawmakers were first to introduce the idea.

Both chambers of the state’s Republican controlled legislature approved the bill.

In his statement explaining the veto, Sununu noted that there are only four other controlled medications available without a prescription in New Hampshire and that each were only made available after “rigorous reviews and vetting to ensure” before being dispensed.

“Patients should always consult their doctor before taking medications so that they are fully aware of treatment options and potential unintended consequences of taking a medication that may limit other treatment options in the future,” Sununu said in his statement.

Sununu’s statement is very similar to testimony given by Paula Minnehan, senior vice president of state government regulations for the New Hampshire Hospital Association, at hearings on the bill.

Minnehan too placed emphasis on the review that went into the four prescription medications the state made available under a standing order. They include naloxone, the generic name for Narcan, which is used to counter opioid overdoses, hormone replacement therapy drugs, and a prescription-version of the morning after pill.

It also includes a collection of smoking cessation therapy drugs like Chantix, which has been linked to suicide, depression, and other neuropsychiatric conditions. Last year, Pfizer, the leading maker of the FDA-approved drug, conducted a voluntarily recall of Chantix. Narcan has also been linked to deaths caused by severe withdrawals that have led to acute respiratory distress.

Rep. Melissa Blasek, a Republican co-sponsor of the New Hampshire ivermectin bill, told The Epoch Times, that one could veto any drug-related bill under the pretense of overdose concerns.

The reality is you can overdose on Tylenol,” she said. “Ivermectin has one of the safest track records of any drug.”

The use of human-grade ivermectin became controversial when some doctors began promoting it for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Government agencies including the FDA and CDC issued warnings against its use while groups like Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) heavily promoted it.

Some doctors were  disciplined for prescribing human-grade ivermectin for COVID-19 including a Maine doctor whose medical license was suspended by the state.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 20:30

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Economics

The One Housing Chart That Shows A ‘Buyer’s Market’ Has Returned

The One Housing Chart That Shows A ‘Buyer’s Market’ Has Returned

The red hot pandemic-era housing market is cooling as historically tight…

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The One Housing Chart That Shows A 'Buyer's Market' Has Returned

The red hot pandemic-era housing market is cooling as historically tight available inventory shows signs of reversing. 

An affordability crisis has removed millions of new home buyers as the number of active US listings soared 18.7% in June from a year earlier, the most significant increase in Realtor.com's data going back to 2017, according to Bloomberg. The days of insane bidding wars, waiving home inspections, and putting in an offer 20% or more over the list price appear to be over. In other words, a buyer's market could be emerging. 

"While we anticipate that more inventory will eventually cool the feverish pace of competition, the typical buyer has yet to see meaningful relief from quick-selling homes and record-high asking prices," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. 

Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Raleigh, North Carolina saw active listings more than double from a year ago. Nashville, Tennessee, active listings jumped 86%, and 72% in the Riverside, California. 

The Federal Reserve's most aggressive tightening campaign sent the 30-year fixed-loan mortgage rate from 3% to over 6% this year (back in March, we warned coming rate explosion would trigger a housing affordability crisis), removing millions of new home buyers who can't afford the cost of homeownership as the median existing-home sales price was around $407k in May. 

Even though inventory is historically tight, supply is expected to increase in markets across the country as demand for loan applications among prospective buyers slumps. Fewer buyers equal more inventory. 

The takeaway is that inventory is rising as homes stay on the market longer because demand evaporated thanks to the housing affordability crisis -- this could mean a housing top is nearing. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 18:50

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Economics

States Need To Avoid ‘Cures’ That Can Make Inflation Worse

States Need To Avoid ‘Cures’ That Can Make Inflation Worse

Authored by Regina M. Egea and Danielle Zanzalari via RealClearPolicy.com,

Across…

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States Need To Avoid 'Cures' That Can Make Inflation Worse

Authored by Regina M. Egea and Danielle Zanzalari via RealClearPolicy.com,

Across the United States, state governments are awash in cash. In a sharp contrast, American taxpayers are enduring a rate of inflation unseen in four decades, with the costs of everything from food to gasoline at record highs.

In our home state of New Jersey, Trenton is looking at an unprecedented surplus of $8 billion through a combination of increased tax revenue, federal pandemic aid and borrowing.

A natural impulse among residents and policymakers is to offer residents “relief” in the form of rebate checks.

The reality is that relying exclusively on rebates or direct cash transfers to individuals will only lead to more inflation as this puts more money in consumers’ hands exacerbating the same problem as today - too many dollars chasing too few goods.

Rather, it is prudent that states focus on long-term investment and responsible budgeting to ensure economic growth now and in the future. This is especially important in high tax, big spending states due to the greater flexibility in work arrangements that have exposed the reality that wealth is mobile.

With more residents fleeing high tax states to low tax states, states will need to reevaluate their tax and regulatory climate to stay competitive. 

Regulation can raise the costs for consumers and slow job growth. A series of studies shows the regulation raises prices and worsens poverty.

Working with local governments to revisit restrictive laws that contribute to higher housing prices, such as building height restrictions and zoning rules, as well as removing unnecessary restrictions on business operations will lead to more economic growth.

Another way states can aid productivity and long-term economic growth with their temporary budget surplus, is to fund training programs for middle-skilled jobs.

Nearly every industry has experienced labor shortages and that reality is especially acute in trades like auto, refrigeration, HVAC, electrical, welding, and manufacturing.

States can invest in these skills through high school and vocational school programs. With college borrowing costs astronomically high, this encourages individuals to pursue careers that are lucrative and budget friendly, as well as fill the over 75,000 job openings that our state of New Jersey is projected to need in just a few years.

To further long-term economic growth many states should also concentrate on fixing their unfunded pension liabilities for public employees. This impacts red and blue states alike, with massive liabilities in California ($1.53 trillion), Illinois ($533.72 billion), Texas ($529.70 billion), New York ($508.70 billion) and Ohio ($429.53 billion). Here in New Jersey, our liability is nearly $40,000 for every resident of the state, which can dramatically deter future growth. Beyond using some of states’ budget surplus to shore up pension liabilities, states should move public employees to defined contribution plans, which are used by more than 100 million Americans. These are found to have better investment returns than state-wide pension plans and cost taxpayers less.

Our final recommendation is perhaps our most important: Save for a rainy day. If the U.S. economy enters into a recession, this will mean fewer jobs and less tax revenue for states. To prepare for the future when states again face a budget shortfall, which may be sooner than we think, states should follow best practices of reserving 10% of their budget in a rainy day fund, to sustain essential programs should a downturn occur in the future.

As state leaders consider their budgets, they should focus on long-term economic growth initiatives. Proposals like funding middle-skilled job trainings ensure workers are ready for the next decade, whereas eliminating unnecessary regulations and focusing on pro-growth tax reforms encourages residents to build businesses and create jobs. Lastly, taking care of state finances by properly funding state employees’ retirement plans and saving for a rainy day will ensure that no state is left behind in the next economic downturn.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 17:50

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