Today is a big day for Match.com and Meetic.

IAC and Meetic, a leading European online dating company based in France, announced today that they have entered into an agreement for Meetic to acquire Match.com’s European operations from IAC. IAC will sell 100% of the stock of the entity that houses Match.com’s European operations for an approximate 27% stake in Meetic, plus a 5 million euro note. Additional terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Match Europe contributes approximately 13% of Match’s consolidated Operating Income Before Amortization. IAC expects annual run rate synergies to be at least 15 million Euros, though it will take a significant transition period before Meetic is able to fully realize them.

Match has been battling it out in many European markets and that the deal is a huge opportunity for customers to reach larger broader community. It also makes sense that there are a number of business efficiencies that both companies may benefit from.

Meetic founder Marc Simoncini speaking to the BBC in 2007 after acquiring Dating Direct:

The UK is the battlefield for the World War of dating.

If Meetic is able to take the UK, Meetic will have won the war. If Match.com is able to keep the UK then they will have won the war.

If you use a US website they promise you will fall in love. They promise you to be married in 6 months, which for a French guy or a Spanish guy or an Italian is crazy. So the difference is whether you promise love or you promise dates.

It’s the French vision against the Texan vision so we will see. I’m confident, but I’m French.

It looks like the free-for-all dominance of the European dating market is just about sewn up. there are still a few French, German and Nordic dating sites ripe for acquisition, but this is the real game-changer.

TechCrunch says:

IAC will sell 100% of the stock of Match Europe – the entity that houses Match.com’s European operations – for an approximate 27% stake in Meetic, plus a 5 million euro note.

According to French newspaper Le Monde, Meetic had revenues of 153,7 million euros in 2008 and currently counts over 696,400 registered users. The company is public and listed on NYSE Euronext, currently at a nearly 228 million euro valuation.

Acquisitions Meetic has made in the past to grow in Europe include eFriendsNet, Lexa, ParPerfeito, DatingDirect, Cleargay and Neu.

I wonder how Parship feels, after all, they made 46 million euros in 2007, not exactly small change for a dating site.

The deal is set to close in a few months.

Emails, calls and texts are flowing into HQ here, I’ll continue to post as more is known about the deal and the online dating industry reaction to the news.

Deal Coverage

TechCrunch

StreetInsider

Loic Lemeur (video of Meetic founder Marc Simoncini being interviewed by Loic, who was on the Meetic board).