IAC recently broke up into 5 separate companies - LendingTree, Interval International, Ticketmaster, Home Shopping Network, and new IAC. Barry Diller thought that splitting up the company would lower uncertainty associated with the company and allow the core company to trade at a richer multiple, but that has not been the case, as noted in this WSJ article:
Stripping out $1.3 billion of net cash on the balance sheet, Wall Street is valuing the operating businesses at barely $1.1 billion, or an undemanding multiple of 5.5 times Ebitda. Google enjoys a multiple of 11.6; Amazon.com, 18.7; and slower-growing eBay, 7.4, says Cowen & Co.
For the entire remaining company (Ask.com, Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, Reference.com, Citysearch, Service Magic, Evite, Iwon, Gifts.com, Match.com, college humor) to be valued at only 1.1 billion seems a tad bit crazy. They paid 1.85 billion for Ask and roughly another $100 million for Lexico (Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, Reference.com).
If Microsoft could afford aQuantive for $6 billion they should be able to afford buying all the above brands for a couple billion. And if Microsoft doesn't buy Ask I wouldn't be surprised to see some private capital raise to take IAC private.
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