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