Monday, November 05, 2007

Ask.com's family is splitting up (but are still best friends)

IAC, the company who owns the search engine Ask.com, is splitting itself up. The group includes sites like Ticketmaster, the Home Shopping Network, Match.com and the Lending Tree.

Why does IAC have such an assortment of companies in the first place? Well, Barry Diller founded IAC back in 1995 and quickly invested in the Home Shopping Network and Ticketmaster. It later bought AskJeeves (and it was IAC who killed off Jeeves) and really started to focus on the internet.

Daniel Farey-Jones (log in needed) has a quote from Diller.
One of the reasons we've stayed with some of our more transactional businesses is that we needed their earnings to allow us to invest in emerging internet businesses. Now that we have real scale in the pure internet units, it makes nothing but sense to me to reorganise the whole.

Ask.com and Match.com stay in the main IAC 'family' of pure internet businesses. However sites like HSN, Interval International, LendingTree and Ticketmaster are getting split off.

IAC's shareholders will own 100% of all the companies.

So why the split? It helps separate the companies. If, for example, HSN begins to spiral down towards the deadpool then Ask.com is less likely to get dragged along. I suspect some people will point out that it makes it easier to sell off these companies too.

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