Jan 30, 2008

Barry vs. John - Ugly War Brewing @ IAC

Well, it's Barry vs. John, they used to be friends, but now - not so much. So, it would seem that John & Barry are getting a divorce - a messy one.

Here's a quick recap.Back in the mid-1990's, John Malone handed over Liberty's Stake in IAC to Barry Diller, which included 63.4% of it's voting shares. Things worked out fine for a while, but then the Markets went soft and the ever enterprising Barry Diller decided to make some changes. He's proposed a plan to break up IAC into 5 companies and in the process, unlock some of the latent value of it's key entities.

The proposal would keep adsupported websites including ask.com at IAC, while creating seperate publicly traded entities for HSN , ticktmaster and realestate sites including LendingTree and realestate.com However - in the process - he's cutting Malone's voting pwoer in half. The volume of the legal squabble is likely to increase as IAC reorganizes. It could also represent a big distraction for the highest level executives in the company from the core mission of running the business.

Last month, Diller replaced Ask CEO Jim Lanzone with former Match.com CEO Jim Safka. The intensifying legal battle for control of IAC clouds the outlook for the company until it's resolved.

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