February 9, 2010 / 12:58 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-IAC tops expectations, speeds up share buybacks

* Q4 EPS $0.20 vs Wall St view $0.17

* Earnings hit by $1 bln impairment charges on search

* Q4 rev up 5 pct to $367 mln

* Shares up 4 percent in early trade (Adds shares, analyst)

NEW YORK, Feb 9 (Reuters) - IAC/InterActiveCorp IACI.O posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday, bolstered by its Ask.com search unit, and it said it would accelerate its share buyback, sending its shares up 4 percent.

The Internet holding company which owns Ask, dating site Match.com and local site Citysearch, reported adjusted profit of 20 cents a share compared with analysts’ average forecast of 17 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

IAC, which is controlled by media mogul Barry Diller, posted a quarterly net loss of $1.01 billion, or $7.94 a share for the fourth quarter after it wrote down the value of its search business to the tune of $1 billion. It posted a profit of $227.4 million, or $1.57 a share a year earlier.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $367.2 million.

The company accelerated share purchases between Oct 27 and Feb 5, buying back 15.8 million shares for around $311.3 million. As of Dec 31 IAC had around $1.7 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

Credit Suisse analyst John Blackledge said IAC’s revenues and earnings were “well ahead of our expectations” and also highlighted IAC’s accelerated share buyback as a positive catalyst for the stock.

IAC shares were up 84 cents at $22 in early Nasdaq trading.

Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Derek Caney e-mail:yinka.adegoke@thomsonreuters.com Reuters Messaging: Yinka.adegoke.reuters.com@reuters.net; +1 646 223 6081

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