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Author Topic:   IAC/InterActiveCorp
HollywoodProducer
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posted November 01, 2006 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Diller Weaves a Web

He bought Ask.com not just to get into the search game, but to integrate his $20 billion Web portfolio.

By Brad Stone
Newsweek

Nov. 6, 2006 issue - The quarterly meetings of execs at Internet conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp are a bit like the first day of classes at a strict, strange prep school. Twenty-three CEOs of IAC subsidiaries like Match.com, Citysearch, Ticketmaster and the Home Shopping Network spend two days either at IAC headquarters in New York or at the L.A. home of its CEO, Barry Diller. There's a strict headmaster present—not Diller, but IAC consultant and former GE chief Jack Welch, who Diller says "is brutal as a cheerleader. You can't go five minutes without an argument from him." At the beginning of the session, the execs are asked to vociferously debate the issues and challenges facing the Internet firm. And at the end, when the attendees have dinner together, they're instructed to sit next to someone they don't know and to find a way to work together.

That last directive is now becoming particularly important for IAC. Over the past decade Diller, 64 (who sits on the board of The Washington Post Company, which owns NEWSWEEK), has spent more than $20 billion to assemble a broad portfolio of Web companies. But he's treated them more as a disparate set of assets rather than a unified Internet company. That's about to change. With the $1.7 billion purchase last year of fourth-place search firm Ask.com, Diller now has an opportunity to begin mixing his various Web properties together. Later this fall, information, reviews and e-commerce opportunities from IAC sites like Citysearch, Ticketmaster and Evite will begin appearing directly in the search results of Ask.com users. "Now is the time to bring these companies together, because in Ask.com, we have the kind of organizing glue that makes use of almost all the assets we have," Diller says.

Diller has lots of ground to cover if he's going to catch up to other Web giants. Ask.com, with 40 million monthly users worldwide, badly trails search leaders Google (107 million visitors), Yahoo (130 million) and MSN (119 million). Wall Street has also been skeptical of IAC's efforts so far, sending IAC stock down 24 percent since 2003. But Diller, the brash media mogul who ran Paramount and Fox Television in the '70s and '80s, sees an opportunity in providing simple answers to basic search queries. He says that the "cold blue links" and ad-cluttered Google pages don't answer basic user questions. After he bought Ask.com, Diller actually pared back the site's distracting banner ads. Blending in content from other IAC properties, he now believes, provides a more intuitive experience that could change consumers' searching habits. "I don't think people are frozen forever in what they are using to search the Internet," he says.

He hopes the revamped search site can be an alternative. Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone calls it "the largest united endeavor that IAC has ever undertaken," and offered NEWSWEEK a preview. When searchers look for concert dates in the search engine, reviews from Citysearch and ticket-buying opportunities from Ticketmaster pop up at the top of the results; concert venues also appear pinpointed next to the results on an Ask.com map. Try to find a plumber in your city, and reviews and booking opportunities for local plumbers appear courtesy of another IAC company, ServiceMagic.com. The integration works in more esoteric ways, as well. Query a campground on Ask, and the results let you make a campground reservation via ReserveAmerica.com (who knew Diller owned that?). IAC execs deny they're building an AOL-style "closed garden" where users will only have access to IAC content. They point out that non-IAC properties like movie-ticket site Fandango have also been integrated into Ask.com search results.


For Diller, the integration of IAC is all about keeping up with the fast pace of change on the Internet. He credits his old boss at Fox, Rupert Murdoch, with meeting the challenge and wisely buying properties like social-networking firm MySpace. Diller says that he's looking at one new company right now. "The wonderful thing is that the window of opportunity on the Internet is not going to close any time soon," he says. But he predicts: "All old-media dogs are going to have some more sleepless nights."


URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15463672/site/newsweek/

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indiedan
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posted November 01, 2006 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Diller’s Web: Think Cable of the Past
By RICHARD SIKLOS
When Barry Diller hired longtime television and film executive Michael Jackson as programming president at the IAC/InterActiveCorp, he had to reassure investors that he was not going back into the entertainment business.

IAC is an Internet company, after all, and Internet companies promise higher growth than media businesses typically deliver. But could Mr. Diller resist his past? Hollywood dominates his résumé, and Mr. Jackson had worked for him previously, overseeing the USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel, among other TV and film ventures.

So far, Mr. Diller has allayed their concerns. He has not gone out to buy a studio, nor has he leaped onto the latest wave of Internet content megadeals by laying down big dollars for the likes of a Facebook or YouTube.

Instead, a glimpse at Mr. Jackson’s early efforts in online programming are now coming into view: he is thinking big by going small, investing in and starting targeted content sites built around humor, news and popular culture that remind him of the early efforts in cable television programming.

In an interview, Mr. Diller said he expected Mr. Jackson to carry out perhaps dozens of such ventures during the next few years. “The amount of capital we’ll put in this over time will be hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “This is a wonderful area right now to invest in.”

The company recently unveiled a test version of a new daily newsletter and Web site, Very Short List, which carries recommendations of unheralded cultural and entertainment products, including books, CDs and DVDs. And in August, IAC acquired control of the Web site www.collegehumor.com — whose name is fairly self-explanatory, though its appeal depends on which college you attended.

Mr. Jackson’s next project, scheduled for a debut next year, continues in a mirthful vein: a continuously updated satirical Web site that IAC is beginning as a joint venture with The Huffington Post, the assemblage of left-of-center blogs that was founded last year and is edited by the author and pundit Arianna Huffington.

The concept behind the to-be-named site is to deliver throughout the day the kind of humor that has been the preserve of late-night talk-show hosts like Conan O’Brien and the Comedy Central stalwarts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Kenneth Lerer, a former Time Warner executive who is a founder of The Huffington Post, calls the idea “real-time satire — real news, not fake news,” and said it would be edited by Ben Wikler, a comedy writer who has worked closely with Al Franken.

Mr. Jackson’s career suggests that more is in store for him. Before he ran the television business of USA Networks and the Universal Television Group, which were acquired by NBC in 2003, he was the chief executive of Channel 4 in his native Britain.

He took some time off after the businesses he led were acquired, then worked on several film and TV projects. But he decided not to return to television because of his view that even the cable networks had become too bland.

A clincher for Mr. Jackson was that at the beginning of this year, Trio, a small cable channel for nonfiction programming that he and Mr. Diller had taken a particular interest in, was recast as Sleuth. It shows reruns of the investigative police shows that dominate prime time. “The cable world has become conservative,” Mr. Jackson lamented.

During his interregnum, Mr. Jackson was thinking Webby thoughts. He collaborated with the author and journalist Kurt Andersen and the designers Bonnie Siegler and Emily Oberman to develop a collection of eclectic and carefully “curated” items (books, CDs and so on) boxed together and periodically shipped to subscribers.

That was the origin of Very Short List, which has evolved into a daily newsletter and Web site because Mr. Jackson and Mr. Diller — who financed the venture through IAC and rehired his old colleague in January — deemed the box concept too expensive to succeed at first.

In its preintroduction form, one of the site’s recent picks included Michel Gondry’s video for a new single by Beck. Another was the book “The Laws of Simplicity” by John Maeda, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose tenets, if his unusually stark office is any indication, Mr. Jackson already lives by.

In the case of the planned satire site, Mr. Jackson said he had sought out The Huffington Post as a partner because it appeared to know how to start up a Web business quickly. The Huffington Post ranked 24th in the blogs category of Web sites during the month of September, with 635,000 unique visitors, according to comScore Networks.

Sean Mills, president of The Onion, a satirical Web site and publication, said that the Web had proved to be particularly suited to humor. But “to maintain it over a long period of time is a very difficult thing,” he added, “and something that we are constantly challenged with.”

In addition to competing with the likes of The Onion, IAC’s new venture may have another rival: Time Warner is developing an online comedy site involving its Home Box Office and AOL divisions, which also proposes to include a satirical take on breaking news, an executive briefed on the plan said.

Where CollegeHumor was concerned, Mr. Jackson conceded that the site might not be for everybody. (Last week, the site featured what it called the “greatest picture ever to grace CollegeHumor”: two half-naked women kissing atop kegs of beer.) It ranks sixth among humor Web sites, according to comScore, with 1.3 million unique visitors in September.

“What attracted us to CollegeHumor is it’s a brand,” Mr. Jackson said. “I think those things that have a point of view can be successful on the Web. That’s a model that goes back forever.”

Mr. Diller said that although IAC could afford a big acquisition like the $1 billion said to be sought for Facebook, a social networking site, he was reluctant to do so. “Making very large bets on businesses that don’t yet have a business model is just not our history,” he said. “I’ll leave that to the media imperialists.”

Instead, he and Mr. Jackson said they favored the economics of starting their own ventures and investing in nascent ones. “This is a medium where how much you spend has much less effect on the outcome than ever before,” Mr. Jackson said. “Some of the best content online has been created by amateurs for nothing.”

Mr. Jackson appears to be something of an island unto himself at IAC, whose better known operations, including the Home Shopping Network, Citysearch, Ticketmaster, Match.com, LendingTree and the search engine Ask.com, generate more than $6 billion a year in revenue.

He said his next area of focus might be news — a site that aggregates and edits news and helps point people to the best information available — but he was not ready to talk about specifics.

Whatever he does, his friends expect it to make a splash.

“If there’s something to do online that makes sense,” Mr. Andersen, the author, said, “he’s as well positioned as any 48-year-old guy to figure out what that is.”

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indiedan
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posted November 28, 2006 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Diller Defends CEO Dollars


Barry Diller, who as CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp, who received an estimated $295 million in compensation in 2005, said that activists and compensation consultants who are attempting to limit the earnings of corporation chiefs are "birdbrains." "I think the whole consultant group should be flushed into the East River," Diller told the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted February 08, 2007 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Diller: 'Final convergence' in about 3 years
By Alex Woodson

Feb 8, 2007

NEW YORK -- Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp expects to invest "a couple hundred million dollars" in online content in the next few years, the media mogul said Wednesday.

IAC, which owns Match.com, CitySearch, Ask.com, HSN and Ticketmaster, purchased CollegeHumor.com in August and will launch 23/6, a satirical news site, in the coming months.

Speaking at the Media Summit, sponsored by McGraw-Hill and produced by Digital Hollywood, Diller said that 23/6 is just one of a "ton" of ideas that will be rolling out in the next few years with "a couple hundred million dollars" in capital behind them.

Diller, who used to run Paramount Pictures and is credited with creating Fox Broadcasting Co., said media is in the midst of a "radical revolution" and that all content will be in digital form before long. He envisions a "final convergence" in about three years, in which a "big data pipeline" will shoot content to various home and office screens.

However, Diller said he does not see the much-hyped user-generated-content movement leading this revolution. He argued that there are very few people capable of creating compelling entertainment that will be appreciated by a mass audience.


"As time goes on, professional product is going to be where this develops," he said. "It will not be the long tail, but it will be the short tail that will generate huge audiences."

Speaking at a later panel, Todd Herman, GM of media experiences at MSN Entertainment, disagreed with Diller's assessment of user-generated media and pointed to the "absolute time suck" of the estimated 120 billion minutes of such content on the Web. "It is going to eat out of the pie," he said. "It will change the range of tastes."

At the same panel, Greg Foster, vp corporate development at Turner Broadcasting, said the answer lies somewhere in the middle of these two characterizations. For now, branding and programming is lost in the "ocean" of user-generated content. "A best of the worst will emerge that will create brands and command compensation," he said.

Speaking about the recent news that Viacom Inc. has demanded that Google-owned YouTube take down video clips from its networks, Diller said the company made the right choice. He expects a "domino effect" and that media companies will not let YouTube make all their content available on the site.

Diller also mentioned that he doesn't see great value to social-networking sites like News Corp.-owned MySpace. He said IAC passed on the chance to purchase the firm, which he likened to the "mall," because it didn't see a way to generate advertising revenue from the site.

"It's a great promotional vehicle, but it's not in evidence how vibrant an ad medium it is," said Diller, who then admitted that he doesn't have all the answers. "Who knows? Ask again tomorrow."

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indiedan
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posted January 29, 2008 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Malone Pounces On Diller


In what appeared to some analysts as a surprise putsch, Liberty Media's John Malone took steps Monday to oust Barry Diller from IAC/InterActive Corp., the company that Diller founded, and whose holdings include the Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster, Citysearch, Hotels.com, Ask.com, Match.com, and LendingTree.com. The action was apparently triggered by IAC's recently announced plan to spin off several of those businesses into new public companies under terms that would undermine Liberty's ability to control them. In a filing with Delaware Chancery Court, Liberty Media said that a "stockholder consent" that it sent to IAC removed Diller and others from the board and named new directors, including Liberty CEO Gregory Maffei, to replace them. The filing cited "misconduct" on Diller's part and criticized his compensation package. (He is regarded as the country's best-paid CEO.) Diller minced no words in responding to Liberty's action. "I am beginning to think these people are insane," he said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal."Everything they cite is hogwash."

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NEWSFLASH
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posted January 30, 2008 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Malone-Diller Feud Escalates


Attorneys for Barry Diller's IAC have gone to court to block John Malone's Liberty Media from taking over the company and ousting him and those loyal to him from the IAC board of directors. In a filing in Delaware chancery court, the attorneys accused Malone and Liberty of going "off the deep end." They called Malone's accusations against Diller "preposterous" and added, "the contention that Liberty is now in control of [IAC] is inexplicable." Diller issued a separate statement saying that Liberty's actions amounted to "a desperate sideshow designed to exert pressure on the board and management of IAC as they attempt to responsibly act in the best interest of their stockholders. All it demonstrates is that Liberty will stop at nothing to advance their own interests at the expense of the other stockholders. Needless to say, IAC will not be daunted." New York Post business columnist Peter Lauria quoted an unnamed source today (Wednesday) as saying that Diller's "name calling has got Malone smiling ... because it means he's accomplished his objective of putting Diller on the defensive."

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indiedan
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posted March 05, 2008 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Diller Admits He May Lose To Malone


In a comment that surprised his New York audience Tuesday, Barry Diller conceded that he may lose his InterActive Corp. to John Malone's Liberty Corp. when a Delaware judge rules on his dispute with Malone next week. "It's very odd that two people who don't want to give up control of anything are giving control to a judge in Delaware," Diller said at a media conference sponsored by Variety. "The wonderful thing about Delaware is ... they make a decision quickly." Malone and Diller, once close friends and collaborators, have been feuding over Diller's decision to spin off four companies that IAC owns. Diller was also critical of the recent strike by the Writers Guild of America, insisting that the WGA suffered lasting injury as a result. "It was like they shot off a rocket and ran to where the rocket was going to land," he said.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted April 09, 2008 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IAC Plans Start-Up Web Sites
IAC/InterActiveCorp. is planning a series of start-up Web sites, including sites aimed at blacks, kids and news junkies, as it prepares for a restructuring that will carve off several of its older media businesses. First up is the launch Thursday of RushmoreDrive.com1, a search engine specifically targeting the black community by offering relevant search results as well as news and job listings. For example, a search for "President Bush" may list the official White House Web site, as well as a link to an article about the president addressing the NAACP. Other projects in the wings include a news aggregation site in partnership with magazine personality Tina Brown. The site -- which will have a staff of about 20, including political journalist Michael Kinsley -- will target news-savvy professionals. IAC is also planning to launch a new virtual world Web site targeted at kids and "tweens," according to people familiar with the matter. The site, which will be housed at Green.com2, a Web address IAC currently owns and devotes to its coupon business, will be focused on teaching tweens about helping the environment and doing good deeds in fun ways, according to these people. There will also be a personal-finance site called FiLife, scheduled to launch by the end of June. The site, which includes a blog that is already live, is a joint venture with News Corp.'s Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal. The dollars committed to these businesses are relatively small -- most of the new sites have a budget below $10 million -- but their success is important to IAC and its chairman, Barry Diller, who is preparing to spin off four of IAC's largest businesses, including the HSN home-shopping network and Ticketmaster, into separate public companies later this year. The spinoff plan was delayed by a court battle with IAC's majority voting shareholder, Liberty Media. Last month a Delaware court said IAC could proceed with its plans. If the spinoffs proceed as scheduled, which could be as early as this summer, IAC will be whittled down to 30 or so Web ventures, among them search engine Ask.com3, dating site Match.com4 and the start-up sites. With its smaller size reducing its ability to compete for major Internet acquisitions, the smaller IAC is putting a higher priority on starting businesses from scratch. IAC has had mixed success with its Web start-ups in the past. Very Short List, or VSL, an email newsletter that delivers one cultural recommendation every weekday, like a review of a book or CD, has more than 90,000 subscribers after a year-and-a-half in business. Traffic to comparison shopping site Pronto.com has exploded over the past year, climbing to 9.1 million unique U.S. monthly visitors in February 2008, up from 816,000 in February 2007, according to comScore Inc. But others have failed to take off. IAC's recently launched comedy news site 23/6 is on its third editor and the number of unique monthly U.S. users to the site fell from 52,000 in January to 36,000 in February, according to comScore. IAC says that its own numbers show that 23/6 traffic is much higher, with about 685,000 unique users in March, adding that third-party services often have trouble tracking traffic to newer and smaller businesses And the cost of IAC's start-up effort is rising as it continues to make investments: The company said on a call with analysts in February that its 2008 losses from its start-ups and early-stage companies would roughly double from 2007 to approximately $24 million. "There are obviously going to be winners and losers in the portfolio," says Michael Jackson, who oversees IAC's programming division, which is home to VSL, 23/6 and others. "But it is about the intelligence of the bets that we are making and that the belief that some will come home." A start-up like RushmoreDrive will have to prove that it isn't just another niche search engine, many of which have been marginalized by larger players like Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. RushmoreDrive Chief Executive Johnny Taylor maintains that it isn't, noting that it will include a news area with original articles and forums on relevant topics, like the discussion of race in the political election, as well as a jobs service where users can post resumes and search for jobs. IAC plans to back its launch of RushmoreDrive -- named after the street where the site's offices are based in Charlotte, N.C. -- with a multi-million-dollar marketing effort including an eight-city Gospel brunch tour and a radio campaign. (WSJ complete)

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indiedan
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posted May 14, 2008 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Diller And Malone Are Pals Again


Suddenly and surprisingly media moguls Barry Diller and John Malone have patched things up. Malone will not pull Liberty Media out of Diller's InterActiveCorp, as was widely presumed following a Delaware court decision favoring Diller. In a joint statement, Liberty agreed to drop its appeal of that decision in return for Liberty receiving representation on the boards of each of the IAC companies that Diller plans to spin off including Ticketmaster, HSN (Home Shopping Network), Ticketmaster, and Lending Tree. Diller issued a statement saying, "Now it's really over and that's great for both of us."

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fred
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posted October 07, 2008 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Buried in a Wall Street Journal interview with Barry Diller, CEO of the ever-shifting Internet conglomerate IAC, which owns Ask.com and some other websites, was a nugget of insight revealing what Diller thinks of the people who invest in his company. Asked about IAC's stock performance, he replied:The truth is the market made judgments, and the recent judgments have been poor. There were legitimate reasons for that. Now, there are operating facts about this company that are irrefutable: It has revenue, it has earnings, it has a lot of cash and no debt.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted December 04, 2008 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IAC Dissolving Programming Group; Lehman Leaving, Jackson Taking New Role; Which Sites Are in Play?

By Staci D. Kramer

paidContent.org has learned that IAC (NSDQ: IACI) is dissolving its programming group as part of its post-spin reorganization. As a result, Nick Lehman, COO of programming, has to decided to leave. Michael Jackson, the president of programming who also worked with Barry Diller at USA Networks and Universal Television Group, will stay on in a new role. Lehman confirmed his move but declined comment on the reasons and referred to IAC public relations for details. (No response yet to phone and e-mail queries.) As we pointed out in some detail recently, Diller said in the Q308 earnings call that IAC would shed some of its emerging businesses and was rethinking investments; this appears to be part of that strategic shift.

Jackson’s group has been responsible for IAC’s efforts to develop, acquire and distribute “content-based” sites including CollegeHumor.com; Very Short List (VSL); 236.com; RushmoreDrive.com and Tina Brown’s recently launched Daily Beast. The results have been uneven and some of the sites are among those likely to be sold. For instance, 236.com, the joint venture with The Huffington Post, could wind up be entirely owned by HuffPo. Kurt Andersen’s eclectic VSL doesn’t have a good fit in IAC without something like the programming group. On the safe list, I’m told: DailyBeast.com, which has made a big splash but is far from making money.

Update: IAC spokesperson Stacy Simpson says Michael Jackson’s new title will be “senior advisor” and that he will use his editorial expertise across the company as it applies. She said there was no need in the new, streamlined IAC for a formal programming organization. The “handful” of other employees affected are expected to get jobs within the company.

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indiedan
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posted December 30, 2008 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Malone Quietly Dumps IAC Shares

Why has John Malone been dumping his shares of IAC/InterActiveCorp in the past two weeks? The company controlled by cable industry pioneer Mr. Malone in recent weeks has sold roughly $17.5 million worth of IAC stock, including a 193,000 share sale reported Tuesday. Mr. Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. is the majority shareholder in IAC, the Internet conglomerate run by Barry Diller.

The recent slate of sales raises questions about whether Mr. Malone is losing confidence in his IAC investment, or simply has found a better use for the cash. Representatives for IAC and Liberty declined to comment Tuesday. Mr. Malone, well known for his complex deals to avoid taxes, could use the paper losses from the IAC sales to offset taxes on other gains. Liberty’s investment in Sprint Nextel Corp. could bring a $1 billion windfall next year. Recently, Liberty Media has written down the value of its IAC stock by $440 million in the third quarter, citing the “lack of near-term prospects for recovery” in its IAC investment. But the unusual and fraying business arrangement between Mr. Malone and Mr. Diller raises questions about whether the stock sales indicate renewed animosity between the two media moguls.Through Mr. Malone holds the majority stake in IAC, Mr. Diller has held voting power over the stake. The arrangement was challenged by a messy lawsuit this year over Mr. Diller’s plan to breakup IAC. Mr. Diller essentially got his way, allowing him push through in August a separation of IAC, which owns online search engine Ask.com, dating site Match.com and other Internet businesses. In an October interview, Mr. Diller said the spat with Mr. Malone was “water down the drain,” but he pointed out that he continues to have the upper hand over Mr. Malone and Liberty. “I outvote them,” Mr. Diller added. To be sure, IAC hasn’t fared badly since the split in August – down about 6% while the S&P 500 index has fallen 31% over the same period — and its performance certainly has been stronger than other Liberty Media equity holdings

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fred
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posted April 16, 2009 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IAC's Diller: Looking For Buys, But Not Much There

IAC/InterActive Chairman and CEO Barry Diller says his company is looking for acquisitions right now, but just can't find any for the right price.

"In our sector, in any parts of the Internet we don’t find much opportunity," said Diller in an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"Prices are artificially high," Diller said. "People have not yet faced, what I think they will have to face. But prices for companies will come down."

Diller also said IAC/InterActive would not be rushed into making a buy just to make it appear they're doing something.

"I can’t let $2 billion [the amount of cash InterActive holds] just sit in a bank gaining no value," Diller said. "I could repatriate to shareholders, but ideally we will invest in our businesses or make acquisitions. But to be anxious is to be foolish."

Diller also said that Internet advertising will remain down for a while. "Advertising is not going to be a leading way out," Diller said. "In fact, Internet advertising is down 10-20 percent, we may see some little areas of improvement, but that’s all."

Diller said the one transaction subscription business InterActive has, match.com, "is booming."

InterActive has more than 35 Internet brands, including Match.com, Citysearch, and Ask.com.

In August of 2008, the company was divided into four publicly traded entities and IAC announced a one-for-two reverse stock split. The reverse split meant that for every two shares of IAC held before the spin-offs, investors hold one share of IAC.

IAC/InterActive shareholders also received one-fifth of a share in home shopping network HSN, time-share business Interval Leisure and ticketing service Ticketmaster. They also got one-thirtieth of a share of lending and real estate business Tree.com.

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fred
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posted April 29, 2009 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IAC/Interactive Q1 Revs Beat, EPS Misses; Fat Cash Pile
Posted by Eric Savitz

IAC/Interactive (IACI) this morning posted Q1 revenue of $332 million, down 10% from a year ago, but a bit above the consensus at $329.7 million. However, the company lost two cents a share in the quarter on an adjusted basis, worse than the Street estimate for a break-even quarter.

IACI said the weak quarter reflected “broader economic pressures on advertising,” as well as actions taken at Ask.com to improve the user experience which have reduced monetization near term.

IACI bought back 3 million shares for an average $15.15 apiece in the quarter. At quarter end, the company had $2 billion in cash an securities, with just $98.5 million in long-term debt. The company’s market cap is just $2.25 billion; which highlights the usual question for Barry Diller’s Internet conglomerate: what is he going to do with the cash?

No doubt he will use some of it for acquisitions; the fear is that he’ll sink most of it into some ill-advised transaction. Today, the company announced the acquisition of Urbanspoon, an online restaurant guide that aggregates restaurant reviews. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IACI this morning is down 2 cents, at $15.96.

IP: 64.236.243.16

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Can Barry Diller Make Content Pay?
The onetime ABC programming exec and creator of the Fox Network has subtly shifted his IAC/InterActiveCorp's focus from e-commerce to media

By Ronald Grover

It was a week after the annual Allen & Co. mediafest, and Barry Diller, the fabled former Hollywood mogul and chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), was eager to chat. Just back from his trek to Sun Valley, Idaho, to join Herb Allen's annual convocation of moguls, Diller was talking about content and how, despite all the hoopla over the mass of online video that folks are watching, the whole notion is hopelessly unprofitable unless the media world can figure out a way to get people to ante up for what they now get for free. Why the interest? "We're the biggest content producers on the Web," Diller quickly pointed out.

That's right. While hardly anyone was looking, Barry Diller has begun to reinvent himself again, this time as an Internet media mogul, making online videos, operating online news sites such as the Daily Beast, producing TV shows, and—maybe somewhere down the road—movies, too. Diller, who brought America the ABC Movie of the Week as head of programming at the network in the '60s and then created the Fox Network two decades later, sees money in online video even as others—Hulu, for one—are still trying to figure out how to mint profits in new media.

The most obvious indication that Diller is headed back to his entertainment roots came on July 27, when IAC announced that it is bankrolling former NBC Entertainment Co-Chair Ben Silverman's still-unnamed venture to make content for "the ever-evolving world of multimedia production and distribution."
The Desire to Be Entertained Is Eternal

Even before that deal, Diller has been quietly adding content assets to IAC's roster of 35-odd holdings, while spinning off companies like Ticketmaster (TKTM) and mortgage lender LendingTree (TREE) that never added up to the killer e-commerce empire he was hoping to build. In 2006 he bought a 51% stake in CollegeHumor.com's parent, added other humor sites along the way, and in July launched a spin-off called Notional that intends to turn all that sophomoric humor into TV shows. Already, the CollegeHumor folks have a reality show on MTV. Add to that an online video-game network called InstantAction that has 1.6 million monthly users, and Diller has the building blocks for what could be a good-size push into the media world again.

That's probably one reason Diller has been telling any reporter with a notebook that the day of free online media is over and that there will soon be many ways to pay for content online—ads, subscriptions, even advertisers who underwrite shows. "As long as content is more than 144 characters being Twittered…there's going to be a payment system that will be developed for content that is produced professionally," Diller recently told analysts during an earnings call.

Technologies change, figures Diller, but the desire to be entertained never becomes obsolete. "It's always been that way in the entertainment business," he tells me. "TV shows used to be free before cable TV needed to have them, and would pay for them, too."

Diller took great care to tell analysts that his content strategy is not on the front burner. He's still building out search site Ask.com, the company's largest revenue generator, and growth is still strong at IAC's dating site, Match.com. But neither has made IAC the Wall Street killer that Diller once envisioned.
Turning the Model Inside Out

So where does he plan to make his content mark online? For starters, he has apparently become a big believer in getting advertisers to create branded content (i.e., commercials masquerading as plots within a TV show) or maybe totally sponsored shows. He told analysts: "The next step could be that advertisers will pay for the programs," a model that would effectively turn inside out the traditional one in which TV networks paid fees to studios to create the programming. That would seem to be the basis of the new joint venture IAC intends to create with Silverman, who had been nuzzling up to advertisers as NBC's top programmer in search of just such joint production efforts.

If successful, Diller told analysts, media companies in the content business will have three revenue sources: selling shows to TV networks; collecting subscription revenue from cable or satellite operators; or partnering with advertisers, who would pay the freight for creating the ads and then likely share ad revenues with the content creator.

For Barry Diller, this has to be déjà vu all over again, to borrow from Yogi Berra. When he launched the Fox Network, few folks were thinking there was room for anything beyond the Big Three. So maybe there is life after free video on the Web. At 67, Diller still seems to relish the thrill of forging new paths, even if he has to go back to some familiar ground to do it.

Grover is Los Angeles bureau chief for BusinessWeek.

IP: 64.236.243.16


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