IAC/Interactive vs. Liberty: Diller Trumps Malone (IACI, LINTA, LCAPA, LMDIA)

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IAC/InteractiveCorp. (NASDAQ: IACI) and Liberty Media Corporation (NASDAQ: LINTA) (NASDAQ: LCAPA) (NASDAQ: LMDIA) have settled their disputes, and it looks like Barry Diller Came out on top of John Malone.

We covered this scenario in our SPECIAL SITUATION newsletter that went out on April 2, 2008 at $21.22; and the intro to subscribers was as follows:

  • ….Our current pick is IAC/Interactive (NASDAQ: IACI), and we gave three likely scenarios we believe to occur. Our downside target limits the implied risk to 12% if you hedge your transaction as we would do. The upside would be an implied 33% to more than 50% if the scenarios pan out the way we expect. Barry Diller isn’t entirely out of the soup yet and Malone may have some more tricks up his sleeve. After the ruling came out we ran the hard detailed numbers and eyeballed various probabilities for this call….

Liberty has agreed to drop its appeal and will not oppose the proposed single-tier spin-offs of HSN, Interval International, Ticketmaster and Lending Tree.  IAC advanced those filings earlier today by making its initial filings with the SEC.  This is all within our line of expectations and should clear the way to the unlocking of value.

Liberty & IAC also agreed on a number of arrangements regarding the governance of the spun off companies as follows:

  • Liberty’s right to board representation on each company,
  • a standstill agreement that limits Liberty’s ability to increase its ownership stakes,
  • and to take a variety of other actions with respect to the spun off companies.

You can join our open email distribution list to hear about other break-ups, IPO’s, secondary offerings, special financings, mergers, spin-offs, and other special situations.

John Malone may be happy with what he got here and he may not, but as far as we are concerned this looks like a clear win for Barry Diller.  IAC shares closed up 2.7% at $23.00 in normal trading today, and shares are up over 3% at $23.85 in after-hours trading.

Jon C. Ogg
May 12, 2008

Jon Ogg produces the twice-monthly SPECIAL SITUATION INVESTING subscriber newsletter and he can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.