Though it is often counted as a digital group in its own right, IAC (or InterActive Corporation) is primarily the umbrella for the diverse portfolio of investments of media mogul Barry Diller, closer in nature to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway than to integrated digital media groups like Google or Facebook. Several of these businesses have outgrown the umbrella structure for one reason or another over time and been floated as separate companies. That process kicked off in 2005 when IAC demerged its collection of travel-related businesses into standalone unit Expedia Inc. One of these businesses, TripAdvisor, was itself spun out a few years later. In 2008, IAC completed a string of further divestitures, separating out the cable TV service Home Shopping Network (HSN), global ticket agency Ticketmaster, and consumer finance site Lending Tree as standalone companies. In 2020, the group spun out one of its biggest remaining divisions, dating services business Match Group, as a separate entity. Video streaming service Vimeo will also be spun off during the course of 2021. Several other sites - including CityGrid, Dictionary, Electus, PriceRunner, ShoeBuy and others - have been sold in recent years. These and other disposals have been replaced by new launches and acquisitions, with the result that IAC still houses more than 50 different online brands and products. The biggest of these divisions is now ANGI Homeservices, which incorporates Angi (formerly Angie's List), HomeAdvisor, Handy and MyBuilder: all sites offering connections between householders and third-party building services contractors. Other units of IAC include information and learning portal DotDash and its own collection of sub-brands (including Brides, Investopedia, Very Well and others) as well as irreverent culture and politics commentator The Daily Beast. It also controls a collection of downloadable website and mobile applications funded by search advertising. These have evolved out of what was at one stage the challenger search engine Ask Jeeves; that brand eventually faded away as a result of the dominance of Google. In 2020, the group acquired Care.com, a service for finding family caregivers, for around $500m. Diller himself remains chairman and controls around 41% of IAC's voting stock. Joey Levin is CEO. Combined revenues in 2020 were a little over $3.0bn. ANGI alone accounted for almost half of total revenues. However a collapse in revenues from search advertising and a large impairment charge resulted in a substantial operating loss. These were offset by a huge gain on the revaluation of a minority shareholding in MGM Resorts acquired during the year. Acquired for $1bn, the stake was worth $1.9bn by the end of 2020. The net result was a corporate profit of $270m. In a startling development in 2021, IAC agreed to acquire America's biggest traditional magazine publisher Meredith for around $2.7bn, and merge its titles - including People, Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle, Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living - into the DotDash digital publishing division.
Capsule checked 23rd January 2020
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Historical profile information for IAC
Adbrands Daily Update 7th Oct 2021: IAC confirmed the acquisition of magazine giant Meredith for around $2.7bn. That portfolio of leading lifestyle and entertainment magazine titles will be merged into IAC's digital publishing division Dotdash, which becomes Dotdash Meredith. Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel will continue to lead the combined business, which will grow ten-fold in annual revenues. DotDash had sales of just $214m in 2020, compared to almost $2.1bn for Meredith, of which $1.4bn came from print and $660m from digital. Nevertheless, the merger is likely to accelerate a move away from print publishing by the Meredith titles in favour of digital. Separately, Meredith Corporation has already agreed to sell its other main business, housing a collection of local TV stations.
Adbrands Daily Update 24th Sep 2021: IAC is in advanced talks to acquire Meredith, America's biggest magazine publisher, with a deal price in excess of $2.5bn. The news was reported first by the WSJ. IAC is competing against a rival bidder, private equity investor Najafi Companies, for the prize. Meredith is best-known for its collection of household and women's titles, such as Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart Living, but was boosted to market leadership in 2017 with its purchase of ailing Time Inc. As a result, its portfolio now also includes People, Entertainment Weekly, InStyle and Real Simple among many others. (Other Time Inc brands such as Time itself, Sports Illustrated and Fortune were all sold).
Marketer Moves 1st Sep 2021: New CMO appointed at Angi. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Dec 2020: In its latest divestiture, IAC announced plans to spin off video streaming service Vimeo as a separate company, most probably during 2Q 2021. The YouTube rival has enjoyed stellar growth during 2020, boosted by pandemic usage. Revenues are up around 40% year-on-year, and paid subscriptions by 25%. A recent round of fund-raising valued Vimeo at almost $2.8bn.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Aug 2020: In an unexpected development, IAC invested $1bn from the proceeds of the Match Group spin-off to acquire a 12% shareholding in MGM Resorts, owner and operator of several major casinos in the US and China. It is the group's biggest single investment for 15 years, and is understood to represent the first stage in an aggressive move into online gambling. "IAC's foundational concept of seeking opportunities to build interactive businesses is our base rationale," said chairman and controlling shareholder Barry Diller. "There is a digital first opportunity within MGM Resorts' already impressive offline businesses, and with our experience we hope we can strongly contribute to the growth of online gaming."
Adbrands Social Media 6th Mar 2019: "Vimeo Can Help". Video hosting site Vimeo - the thinking man's YouTube, you might say - unveiled an excellent collection of promotional films developed by New York agency FIG. There are 14 different vignettes in all, each one depicting a different everyday disaster. Perhaps not so everyday, actually, since one of them involves being swallowed by a whale. In each case, the ad headlines "Vimeo Can Help", with the subsequent disclaimer of "... with your videos". They're all deliciously oddball, stylishly designed and shot. Nice work.
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