Earnings Call: IAC Display, Search Hammered In First Quarter

This story was written by Rory Maher.
How bad was the ad market for IAC? CEO Barry Diller and CFO Tom McInerney (pictured, right) said display advertising was down 37 percent in the first quarter, while search was down double-digits. While the second quarter so far isn't looking worse than the firstit's also not looking much better, they said. Highlights from the call include:

Search: Ad rates for search (which makes up the lion's share of the company's ad revenue) varied greatly by property, but were down well into the double-digits overall during the quarter. Pronto.com saw the most erosion in rates due to poor retail industry sales, dropping 20 percent versus the same period last year, while the remaining properties saw cost-per-click rates drop between 5 percent and 10 percent. McInerney said April performance is currently looking similar to the first quarter.

More analysis after the jump.

Emerging Businesses: Diller said he would continue to shed emerging businesses that were deemed non-essential, but wouldn't specify what properties would likely make the cut. As for acquiring companies, Diller said he still wasn't seeing enough attractive values out there to pull the trigger, but expected to see more as the recession drags on. IAC (NSDQ: IACI) sold comedy site 236 and reservations site ReserveAmerica in January.

NASCAR: Diller said it was too early to tell if its deal to power search for NASCAR was paying dividends, but did say the company would roll out two more verticals in the next 90 days; he didn't provide specifics. The company said on its first quarter 2009 conference call that it would begin rolling out targeted search verticals with partners like NASCAR to increase its search queries. 

Match Europe: McInerney said the sale to European dating site Meetic would close in June, at which time IAC would own about 27 percent of the company.


By Rory Maher
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