(Adds analyst comment, more detail)
Dec 19 Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive Corp
said Greg Blatt would step down as chief executive and
become the chairman of its newly created Match Group, which
would include the company's popular dating website Match.com.
Shares of IAC/Interactive rose 14 percent on Thursday. The
move suggested that IAC could be preparing its digital dating
assets for a spin-off.
"People have been thinking about and anticipating a move
that IAC would spin off Match as a publicly traded company,"
said Scott Kessler, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ.
"The (Match) business performance is not only healthy it has
improved," he said.
Diller's IAC is known for having spun off assets including
Ticketmaster, Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Expedia
. Kessler said that IAC has been responsible for six
spinoffs between the years of 2005 through 2011.
Match Group will also include IAC's other dating websites,
educational website Tutor.com, fitness portal DailyBurn.com and
its investment in Skyllzone.
Sam Yagan, the chief executive of the Match dating websites
unit, will become CEO of the new business.
IAC also owns a cluster of search sites including Ask.com,
media assets such as Vimeo and is a backer of Aereo.
IAC said it does not plan to name a chief executive to
replace Blatt, who took over that role in December 2010.
Instead the head of the IAC's other business units Joey
Levin, CEO of Search & Applications, and Kerry Trainor, CEO of
Vimeo, will report directly to Diller.
Diller, the former Fox and Paramount Pictures executive, is
the chairman and senior executive of IAC.
"Greg and I agree that a less centralized operating
structure, pushing talent and decision-making closer to the
businesses, is now the best way to achieve our growth
objectives," Diller said in a statement.
Shares of IAC closed at $68.49 on Thursday.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York and Aurindom Mukherjee
in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Tim Dobbyn)