November 5, 2008 / 5:51 PM / in 11 years

Media company IAC posts loss after spinoffs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - IAC/Interactive Corp, the Internet media company, posted a third-quarter loss on Wednesday after spinning off four of its key businesses, but better-than-expected revenue helped push its stock higher.

Barry Diller, the media veteran and company chief executive, promised that this would be “the last quarter when the costs of our spinoffs will distort” earnings at the company.

Even as the spinoffs resulted in an overall quarterly loss, IAC’s revenue rose 10 percent and surpassed expectations, helped by international growth.

IAC shares were up 6.3 percent to $17.65 in early afternoon trading on Nasdaq.

IAC, which includes Ask.com and Match.com, reported a loss of $14.8 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with a profit of $70.5 million, or 47 cents a share, a year ago. It posted a loss of 14 cents a share on an adjusted basis.

IAC incurred expenses of about $20.8 million to spin off its HSN cable shopping network, Ticketmaster box office service, Interval time-share network and LendingTree mortgage broker into four publicly traded companies.

Today’s IAC, which concentrates on Web media and subscription businesses, reported that third-quarter revenue rose to $369.3 million. That surpassed analysts’ forecasts of $353.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

In its media and advertising division, made up of Ask.com, Dictionary.com, and Citysearch, among other sites, operating income jumped to $32.1 million, up 105 percent, as it cut back on some marketing expenses.

But that division also faces economic hurdles, as the downturn has begun to curtail advertising spending across media, including the Internet.

“People are generally querying less in commercial areas,” Diller said on a conference call. “Key words are dropping in price to some degree, which certainly can be expected in the areas which have been particularly affected by the economy.”

Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Tim Dobbyn

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