Diller Looking For Buying Opportunities In Downturn; Offers The Pretzel Metaphor For IAC

imageBring on the downturn! Barry Diller is still looking to buy websites, because the economy “tomorrow will present unknown opportunities.” The IAC (NSDQ: IACI) CEO told Reuters’ media summit in New York he expects a “‘cascade’ of acquisition opportunities at bargain prices,” Reuters reports. Acquisitions won’t come so much in search, where IAC already owns Ask.com, but: “The interest would be on audience; we would acquire audience absolutely; we would acquire vertical audiences as we acquired with Dictionary.com, Thesauraus.com.” Rule out social media buys; they’re not good advertising plays, Diller said: “Think of the bimbo words this internet has created: ‘portal’, ‘social network’; I could riff on … ‘networking,’ horrible word too.”

The opportunity is so great, despite – or perhaps because of – the downturn, that Diller is passing up the opportunity for a share buyback to instead grow IAC’s coffers, to an expected $2.2 billion next March. “We can turn ourselves into any shape pretzel that opportunity presents.” But IAC may sell off non-core units, Reuters said. Diller said in November that IAC would close some of its “emerging” businesses, and promptly dissolved its programming group.

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