Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Unlike many of us, media executives know what it’s like to play around with large wads of cash. So it seemed natural to ask them about what kind of investment opportunities they’re seeing when they gathered in New York this week for the Reuters Global Media Summit.
We gave each media honcho $10 million in hypothetical cash and told them to put the money to work without buying stock in their own companies.
Some executives plowed the money into broad sectors and regions, like emerging markets, while others zeroed in on specific stocks, like Electronic Arts’ CEO John Riccitiello’s penchant for software maker Adobe.
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said he already owns shares of privately-held Facebook, the Internet social network on which many of Zynga’s video games are designed to be played on, and that he’d buy more on the secondary markets (OK, so he creatively sidestepped the rule against investing in his own company).
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?
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.”
IAC Chief Executive Barry Diller took several groups to task at the Reuters Media Summit, but he reserved special disgust for CEOs at profitable companies who add to the country’s rising unemployment rate.
Also targeted by the former Hollywood executive were “incredibly, shockingly stupid” Big 3 auto executives, the Internet’s strange and growing dictionary, and Hollywood’s lack of creativity.