Here’s Barry coming onstage at the D6 conference to “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”. Hyuk! He’s going billionaire casual, wearing some sort of green terrycloth hoodie; he’s got several stray hairs.
Kara and Barry talking about Liberty fight, which is actually interesting, though our readers tell us otherwise. Sums up: Essential argument was Liberty trying to get Barry to sell “an asset” at price he didn’t want to sell at. Presumably he’s talking about HSN.
Onto the breakup: 63 different companies, which means that no matter what happens, they’ll always be something wrong. So I figured out, “this is stupid”. Would take 30 years to get on top off. Breaking into 5 companies gives people things to focus on. “I don’t really believe in conglomeration” [Surprise, IAC shareholders!] IAC was no GE. “I learned that it’s easy to say, it’s like a wonderful theory… but in truth, ones a mortgage business… and the other’s in, whatever. I could riff on and on about this. They’re so disparate.”
So: What is IAC now? IAC, (that’s “New IAC”) will be multiple “pure Internet businesses” in multiple iterations. No one else does that.
So what’s good about that? Well, we’re experts at SEO now. So we can leverage that with new properties we acquire, like Lexico. So you have a kind of expertise and a long-term tinkering around. We bought CitySearch 10 years ago. Broke even 2 years ago. Now a big local Internet business. And also, when you have many companies, there’s always trouble, and the senior execs always go where the trouble is, instead of creating cool new stuff. I was in Long Island this weekend with a bunch of hedge fund people. They’re really arrogant (!). And they make nothing except for money. “But I’ve always been in that product/editorial business”.
OK, so what’s he working on? Well, there’s the unnamed Tina Brown project. Actually it has a name but he can’t share.
Interested in Hollywood/Web interaction? Not really. Hollywood “so inbred that it’s a wonder that their children have any teeth”. The forces now are such is that it’s now becoming almost desparate. The writers strike and the non-actors strike has “flattened everyone”. Flattened in what way? Margins weren’t good to begin with. Writers strike really did affect TV. Who’s to blame for that – writers or suits? Both. And did they accomplish anything? No.
Barry giving his take on MSFT/YHOO, which is interesting but not relevant. Analogy about Microsoft misfiring bullet at target. But likes the original buyout idea. Getting up to scale to fight is mandatory.
Apologies to our readers: This is an interesting discussion — listening to Barry is always interesting — but we’re not going a good job of giving you highlights in this format. We’re going to take notes and bring you any important highlights we get.
Photo: Asa Mathat, AllThingsD