More Mogul Mud Wrestling
How’s this for a juicy quote?:
“I am beginning to think these people are insane. … Everything they cite is hogwash.”
That’s what is known as a classic Barry Diller, who can be relied on to come out with a good one when provoked.
In this case, the provocateur is Liberty Media’s John Malone (pictured on the right in this comic with Diller), whose company has headed to court to try to remove Diller from his job as chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp.
As chronicled by the always deft Jessica Vascellaro of The Wall Street Journal today, the fight between the longtime partners is getting uglier still with–oh, let’s just admit it–totally confusing moves and countermoves about the fate of IAC and its subsidiaries.
Liberty has a giant stake in all of these entities and Diller, of course, has control of that stake. A recipe for mogul mud wrestling, if ever there was one.
But the fight is a serious one for a number of high-profile Web companies within IAC, which was being restructured to stop just this kind of fighting between Diller and Malone.
Just how Diller has gone about rejiggering it all, in complicated spin-offs in a way that allegedly undercuts Liberty’s control yet again, is what set the new round of tensions off.
Those sites embroiled in the fighting include: Expedia, TicketMaster, LendingTree and Ask.
As luck would have it, Diller will be interviewed onstage at the sixth edition of D: All Things Digital in late May, so there will be plenty to talk about!
The last time I interviewed him at the Monaco Media Forum last November, Diller let loose too, when he memorably scoffed at the $15 billion valuation for Facebook and Microsoft’s $240 million investment in the hot social network.
“If it was real money, it would be insane, but since it isn’t really, then why bother [worrying about it],” said Diller. “It doesn’t mean anything, it is a phantom, false valuation. Let them sell for $14 billion, $998 million, and then I’ll believe them.”