'Whatever we operate, we own forever': IAC's CEO Joey Levin explains why winning in the consumer internet business is a long term game

  • IACCEO Joey Levin sat down for an interview with Business Insider global editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson at IGNITION 2018, BI’s flagship conference for tech and media.
  • Levin talked about how IAC works on a “forever timeline,” meaning the digital holdings company evaluates its businesses like it will own them forever, instead of treating them on fixed timelines.
  • IAC owns a number of digital and media companies, including Vimeo, Ask.com, Daily Beast, Angie’s List home services, and Match Group’s bundle of online dating apps.

Companies are often put on short-term timelines to measure their success, but Joey Levin, CEO of media and digital holdings company IAC, says his company has ditched this type of evaluation when it comes to the businesses it owns.

Instead, IAC works on a “forever timeline,” Levin said Monday during remarks at Business Insider’s IGNITION 2018 conference. This structure means that IAC can focus on long-term cash flow of the company, rather than short-term revenue results.

“Whatever we buy, whatever we operate, we own forever,” Levin said.

Levin sat down with Business Insider editor-in-chief, Nicholas Carlson, to talk about IAC’s business structure and how it maintains ownership of a diverse portfolio of companies, which Vimeo, Ask.com, Daily Beast, online dating company Match Group.

With holdings across multiple industries and categories, IAC joins mega companies like Amazon that control business “kill zones” across the service provider industry. While a few large companies dominate these areas, smaller startups scramble to survive with better services at more affordable prices.

A recent major IAC acquisition demonstrates the idea. IAC bought the housing service site Angie’s List to take control of the home services sector. The popular listing site has dominated the industry, which includes IAC’s own HomeAdvisor.

The two service providers are now housed under a newly formed IAC business unit called Angi Home Services, which Levin called an “unbelievable combined company.”

Overall, IAC is focused squarely on consumer internet companies that are paving the way for the future, Levin said. The CEO said that he looks for companies that emphasise value, a term that’s often wrongly translated to “cheap.”

“We’ve learned as we’ve gone on,” Levin said. “When we see things working we’re able to capitalise on it.”

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