This story was written by Joseph Weisenthal.
In its first report since a Delaware court win affirming chairman and CEO Barry Diller's authority, IAC (NSDQ: IACI) announced Q1 revenue of $1.6 billion an 8 percent increase from $1.49 billion in the year-ago quarter. Net income, however, slipped 13 percent to $52.8 million ($.18 per share) from $60.7 million ($.20 per share). Earnings were hit by income decline at HSNwhich is seen as a possible bargaining chip in its attempt to completely extricate itself from John Malone and Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA). Op income in that unit fell 42 percent to $20.2 million. On the other hand, revenue growth at 'New IAC', as it would be called post-spin, was up 22 percent, with its op loss slimming to $33 million from $39 million. Some highlights:
-- At New IAC, media and advertising revenue grew 28 percent to $215.5 million, while Match.com rose 10 percent to $90.5 million. The growth in ad revenue was partly attributed to the company's renewed partnership with Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which it said contributed to higher revenue per query on Ask.com. Total queries declined due to a decrease in marketingso fewer Ask.com ads on TV, which is something analysts had been wanting to see go.
-- Ticketmaster revenue grew 15 percent to $349 million, but profit decline 21 percent, which the company blamed on higher technology and royalty costs.
-- No surprise at LendingTree, as the unit continues to be hard hit by the economy. Revenue fell 38 percent, and the unit's loss deepened to $8.7 million from a loss of $7.8 million.
Bottom line: In the statement, CEO Barry Diller said the quarter's results demonstrate: "it couldn't be clearer that we are on the right course in separating IAC into 5 distinct public entities." Certainly, now that the company introduced the notion of the spin, it's hard to imagine what business these disparate units have being under the same roof.
By Joseph Weisenthal