MediaFile

from Summit Notebook:

A Barry Diller sampler from the Reuters Global Media Summit

Interviewing IAC chief and media mogul Barry Diller nearly always means that you'll get more quotable quotes than you can stuff into one article. He didn't disappoint at this year's Reuters Global Media Summit on Wednesday. Here are thoughts from Diller on a range of subjects from mergers and acquisitions and Comcast to AOL, MGM and marriage.

Q: What are you going to do with the cash on the balance sheet? What's the focus? Are you still being cautious?

A: "I'd say we still are. It's definitely a looming problem. The only thing worse than spending cash stupidly is essentially not to put it down at all, not to do anything."

Q: What would be the right opportunity to buy something?

A: "There's no road map here. Anything of size, let's call it $1 billion plus, is known. ... Of the potential availables, nothing seems smart right now."

Q: What about AOL?

A: "Steve Case came to me ... and offered us AOL. In 1992 or 1993, Paul Allen was selling his stake, which was about 25 percent of the company. We were very fresh into buying QVC and overly cautious and missed the opportunity; opportunity since then I'm kind of glad I missed."

from Summit Notebook:

Daily Beast staff ‘happy as clams,’ says Barry Diller

The journalists and staff who work at The Daily Beast don't look at life like you other sad-sack scribes out there who are watching your job market wash out to sea with the ebb tide. In fact, they are happy in a particularly mollusk-like way.

"They're as happy as clams," said Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which is financing the online news outlet with its editor, Tina Brown. "They wake up every morning filled with possibility."

That's because they are not working at sinking-ship news outlets like most of the rest of their colleagues in mainstream U.S. journalism.

Barry Diller’s take on Microsoft, Yahoo and more

Few in the media business know dealmaking better than Barry Diller.

So it comes as little surprise that the head of IAC/Interactive was asked about both the Microsoft-Yahoo deal and the AOL separation during an earnings conference call today. He sounded upbeat on both situations.

Here are some excepts:

Microsoft-Yahoo:

One significant thing that happened is we’re not going have to talk about whether or not it’s going to happen anymore [Ed -Amen to that!]. Look, Microsoft will be able to report a greater share in terms of search and get — at least in some minds of the talkers — into being up there in competing terms with Google. And Yahoo doesn’t have to spend anymore money on search. As far as being able to execute, that is very complicated.

For us, I think that the significance is we want, need, must have at least two competitive forces, big competitive forces… I want to have two players out there wanting to get our incremental business, which is, of course, of real value to the companies.

Sun Valley: Ken Auletta paints it, black

Allen & Co’s Sun Valley media and technology conference forbids journalists from attending the morning sessions that executives and other media power players attend before they go out to play and talk about deals in the afternoon. That means the last, best hope they have is to get the low-down from a journalist who was invited.

There’s no pride in it, but at least you hear what happened from a reliable source.

In this case, that’s Ken Auletta, New Yorker media writer and author of several books about the media business. He moderated a panel about surviving in the digital age.

Madison Square Garden gets into the management game

jim-dolan.jpgMadison Square Garden, the storied New York City sports and entertainment venue owned by the Dolan family’s Cablevision Systems Corp, is getting further into the music business with a deal to take a minority stake in artist management company Front Line, it said on Wednesday.

Front Line’s backers seem to be the who’s who of New York media moguldom with stakeholders like Barry Diller’s IAC Interactive and Edgar Bronfman Jr’s Warner Music Group.

Front Line, led by Irving Azoff, is described as the world’s largest personal music management firm with artist clients including the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Neil Diamond and Christina Aguilera.