Diller Eyes Acquisitions Through Downturn, Will Go Pretzel-Shaped

This story was written by Robert Andrews.
Bring on the downturn! Barry Diller is still looking to buy websites, because the economy "tomorrow will present unknown opportunities". The IAC (NSDQ: IACI) CEO told Reuters' media summit in New York he expects a "'cascade' of acquisition opportunities at bargain prices", Reuters reports. Acquisitions won't come so much in search, where IAC already owns Ask.com, but: "The interest would be on audience, we would acquire audience absolutely; we would acquire vertical audiences as we acquired with Dictionary.com, Thesauraus.com." Rule out social media buys; they're not good advertising plays, Diller said: "Think of the bimbo words this internet has created: 'portal', 'social network'; I could riff on ... 'networking', horrible word too."

The opportunity is so great, despite - or perhaps because of - the downturn, that Diller is passing up the opportunity for a share buyback to instead grow IAC's coffers, to an expected $2.2 billion next March. "We can turn ourselves into any shape pretzel that opportunity presents." But IAC may sell off non-core units, Reuters said. Diller said in November IAC would close some of its "emerging" businesses, and promptly dissolved its programming group.


By Robert Andrews
  • CBSNews

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