Now that Barry Diller has won his court case against John Malone, he’s free to break up IAC (IACI) into 5 pieces. The problem: Convincing investors that those pieces are worth more than the sum of their parts.
Barry has been trying to get private equity guys to buy stakes in some of his units, which would theoretically “boost investor confidence,” reports WSJ’s Jessica Vascellaro, who owns the IAC beat so thoroughly that her work became part of last week’s trial. Jessica says Barry had been talking to Bono and Elevation Partners about buying a piece of Ticketmaster, but “talks have cooled”, though they “aren’t entirely off the table.”
Maybe they are now: U2 just signed a giant contract with concert promoter Live Nation (LYV) which is Ticketmaster’s largest customer but is dumping the company and creating its own ticketing business. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for Elevation to end up buying a piece of Ticketmaster — Bono and Steve Forbes have different political views, but Elevation still bought 40% of Steve’s publishing business a couple years ago — but it sure makes it unlikely.
Anyone else? Barry has also been looking for investors in Interval, his time-share business, but that’s looking dicey, too. Meanwhile Lehman’s Doug Anmuth notes that Barry may still end up simply swapping out one of his companies — perhaps Interval, or the Home Shopping Network — to Malone.
To recap: Barry Diller owns, among other businesses, a concert ticket seller, a time-share business and buy-by-phone TV retailer. And we haven’t even mentioned his search engine, his online travel agency, etc. Any wonder he hasn’t been able to sell Wall Street on his vision for IAC?