In looking at the IACI divestiture plan announced today, here are two columns, the left one containing the company CEO Barry Diller’s keeping, and the left one containing the ones he is spinning out as 100%-owned companies.
|A host of investments|
He’s essentially spinning out the largest standalone groups, while keeping the more explicitly transactional search/ad-related properties. Diller’s incubator strategy redux, apparently.
On the other hand, this is the most complex such deal I have seen in eons. It will be very tricky coming to defensible valuation of the mess, so expect the stock to get whipsawed over all the map. Further, some will read this has a statement that LendingTree, Ticketmaster, et al., are mature and less interesting, and that’s the only reason they’re being pushed out.
Overall, IAC/Interactive has never really made much business sense, and this doesn’t really fix that. We go from a crazy complex quilt of unrelated companies, to another crazy complex quilt of unrelated companies — with a few wholly-owned unrelated subsidiaries. I’m not against it, but it doesn’t solve the problem that IAC/Interactive is sort of the anti-GE conglomerate: Never first or second in any of its businesses, and happy to be that way.