MediaFile

Barry Diller goes it alone, and he’s fine with that

bd.jpgCall it the new simplicity. IAC’s businesses are better off on their own in the market than trying to work with a strategic partner, according to chief mogul Barry Diller.
    
Recently empowered by a court decision that says he can do what he wants with IAC with little limitation from controlling shareholder Liberty Media, Diller said today a plan to spin off four major IAC units probably won’t involve any partners and that he was on track to complete the separation in August. 

Here’s his comments from a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings. We’re wondering how much of this may still be a negotiating position, or should we expect to see one big IAC, and four little IACs, trading on the Nasdaq before Thanksgiving: 
    

What we’re not discussing is the possibility of a so-called swap transaction with Liberty. While the potential for such a deal exists just by the nature of our relationship, I think it’s very unlikely that one will occur. 
 
Relative to private equity, we’ve had lots of discussions, we have lots of people knocking on the door and coming in and talking about different schemes and ideas. The truth is as we go through this, I think we’re not probably going to do any of them. I think that the best thing to do is simplicity. We may do one or some modified thing but I don’t think we’re going to do anything that would particularly engage (the) private equity world. 
    
The best thing is to get these companies spun out and to get them into the public markets, get their managements out there, so to speak, and taking care of their own businesses and talking to the investment community. I think that’s probably the better step forward for us at this point. 

For those watching at home, Liberty was mulling a swap for IAC’s HSN shopping channel, or maybe a smaller asset. Firms such as Quadrangle and Elevation Partners were also among the parties who have discussed taking a stake in another IAC unit.

(Photo: Reuters)

Google, Microsoft may be eyeing Digg.com

Digg.com founder Kevin RoseIs Digg.com for sale?Even though founder Kevin Rose told CNET last month that the answer is “no”, today the answer appears to be “yes”.According to TechCrunch, Google and Microsoft may be prepared to fight over the popular Web site, which lets readers recommend articles to others.Digg has been working with investment bank Allen & Co, and is pitching big tech and media companies on a sale. It is even prepared to take less than the $300 million suggested late last year, TechCrunch said.Four companies, including Internet giants Google and Microsoft, are in heavy due diligence with Digg. The other two are media or news companies, TechCrunch said, adding that Google will likely bid $200-$225 million, which Digg would likely accept. Is Barry Diller’s IAC interested?TechCrunch expects a bidding war between Microsoft and Google.It wouldn’t be the first time they have butt heads over Digg. Last summer, Microsoft became the exclusive provider of display and contextual advertising on Digg.com, replacing Google.Then again, Silicon Alley Insider suggests that any offer over $100 million might be too much.Update: Digg CEO Jay Adelson speaks out on the company’s blog:

Normally our policy is to not comment about things like this, but this morning’s rumors about a bidding war involving Google and Microsoft have created such a stir we feel compelled to tell you all directly that they are completely inaccurate.Sorry to burst any drama theories, but they aren’t true. We remain focused on improving Digg and rolling out great features.

Alleyinsider’s Peter Kafka remains a bit skeptical over Adelson’s comments.(TechCrunch )Keep an eye on:

    Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer pledged the company would gain share against Google in online advertising and Web searching, even if it’s his “last breath” at the company. (Reuters) The board of National Public Radio its said chief executive, Ken Stern, was leaving after less than 18 months “by mutual agreement.” (NYT)

(Photo: Digg.com founder Kevin Rose, Digg.com)