Earnings: IAC's Still Hopes On Ask.com; $37 Million in Impairment and Write-Down Charges

This story was written by Rafat Ali.
IAC (NSDQ: IACI), still trying to figure out what to be after the five-way split last year, has announced its Q408 results this morning, and the picture is, well, still murky. Topline numbers for Q408:
$351 million in revenue, versus $378 million in the year-ago quarter, down 7 percent
$227 million in Q408 net income, compared to a loss of $370 million in the year-ago period
This includes $26 million in writedowns on IAC's investment portfolio, and $10.3 million in goodwill and intangible asset impairment

Relevant division wise results:
Media & Advertising, which includes Ask.com, Fun Web Products (Zwinky etc), and recently-acquired Dictionary.com, Citysearch, and network search properties, saw a 19 percent drop in revenues to $183.7 million in Q408, compared to $226.6 in Q407. Most of it was due to decreased queries across all its search properties, offset a bit by Dictionary.com queries on Google (NSDQ: GOOG). It included a $9.2 million impairment charge related decline in the performance of its interminably-crappy Excite, iWon and MyWay portals businesses, partially offset by a decrease of $5.9 million in amortization of non-cash marketing.
Emerging Businesses includes its smaller and content focused businesses, which is plans to close down or sell off, as Barry Diller has mentioned before. It includes Shoebuy, Pronto.com, Gifts.com, InstantAction.com, Connected Ventures (its CollegeHumor and Vimeo division), RushmoreDrive.com, Life123.com and Tina Brown's TheDailyBeast. The revenues were up 19 percent, though on a much smaller base $54.6 million, up from $46 million in the year-ago quarter.

In December, IAC decided to dissolve its programming group as part of its post-spin reorg, part of Diller's rethink on its portfolio.

More details in release here. For all the changes and troubles at IAC, read our dedicated company section. Photo credit: victoriapeckham

Analyst-think: RBC Capital Markets' Ross Sandler sees some silver lining in the numbers, albeit with the requisite amount of irony: The results "should not come as a major surprise given the trends in online advertising. But with $1.8B in net cash, $100m+ in other assets (Arcandor etc..), limited display, and the Ask-Google search deal serving as a revenue back-stop, we believe IACI shares have limited downside from current levels."

By Rafat Ali