(Adds analyst comment, more detail)
Dec 19 (Reuters) - 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)