This story was written by Staci D. Kramer.
Unless you're an employee of IAC (NSDQ: IACI), you're probably reading this here first ... we've obtained an emailed memo from IAC chairman and CEO Barry Diller to his staff that went out around midnight Eastern as he prepares to fight John Malone's Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA) in a Delaware court for control of the company he founded. We have posted full text here.
Diller starts with news of a company award, the second year as Fortune's "Most Admired Company" in the Internet Services and Retailing category, and offers a very top-line look at "the IAC businesses that will spin off into their own independent, publicly traded companies later this year" as well as the "new IAC." (No mention of the recent Ask layoffs or the confusion over direction.)
It's not until the end that he gets to the real reason for writing, the trial in a Delaware state court that will determine his fate and that of the company: "As I'm sure most of you are aware, IAC will be in court this week to resolve a business dispute with Liberty Media related to how we implement our planned spin-offs. The trial will begin tomorrow in Delaware, and is expected to run through the end of the week. The media has not surprisingly become enchanted with this dispute, so I expect a fair amount of press coverage during the process attempting to paint the trial as going one way or the other. Please do your best to ignore it. I will try as well but probably fail.
"At the end of the day, it's purely a business dispute. We are highly confident in our legal position and are looking forward to proving our case to the judge. But, whatever the outcome, you have much to be proud of. And no one, including those seeking to dramatize this dispute with generic and often wrongheaded characterizations of our Company, can or should take that away from you."
More about IAC and Liberty Media in our IAC archives.
By Staci D. Kramer