Diller to IAC HQ on lawsuit: best of all possible worlds

Owen Thomas · 03/10/08 10:24AM

Internet mogul Barry Diller is locked in a battle with former cable baron John Malone for control over IAC, and he told his staff last night to expect the case to go to court this week. Writes a tipster:

Barry Diller: I could be gone in a week

Nicholas Carlson · 03/05/08 11:53AM

Barry Diller's battle with Liberty Media head John Malone for control over IAC could be over in a week, Diller told a crowd at a Variety event yesterday. "It's very odd that two people who don't want to give up control of anything are giving control to a judge in Delaware," he said. "The wonderful thing about Delaware is they do it quickly. They make a decision quickly." Some shareholders might wish for the same alacrity from Diller.

Barry Diller's Secret Weapon: Shopping

Ryan Tate · 02/12/08 08:00AM

How will Barry Diller get John "Darth Vader" Malone to put down his light saber and end his fight for Diller-controlled internet conglomerate IAC? Shopping! According to the Wall Street Journal, evil queen Diller's approach focuses on cable shopping network HSN, and will go something like this: Come on, Johnny Death Star, it'll be fun! When I called you "insane" I meant "insane about a good sale!" HSN totally redid their interior, out with the shoddy gauche stuff and in with Sephora and Scoop NYC. They stock TONS of black, which I know is your favorite. What I think you'll like best is that the prices haven't even changed. If you act now, you can get the shopping network for the same low, low price I offered before — the rest of IAC, safely in my hands — and I'll throw in the extra 5 percent in quarterly sales HSN just posted at no additional charge. And if you call now, I'll also add the Nike champ I lured to run HSN. [WSJ]

Barry Diller's Bravado

Nick Denton · 02/06/08 05:39PM

"If AOL came down in price to something ridiculous, we probably would look at it. I just doubt we have very much interest in it," says Barry Diller, announcing a loss at his internet conglomerate, IAC, which owns websites such as Ticketmaster and College Humor. Translation: Hogwash! It's touching that you reporters and analysts still pretend that I'm a big swinging mogul. I've got angry shareholders breathing down my neck, and I can barely retain control of my own company; there's no way I can handle another troubled business. In any case, the yacht needs new carpeting.

Barry Diller's Carpet

Nick Denton · 01/31/08 04:28PM

We don't resent the IAC billionaire's lavish lifestyle. If Diller wants to spend $200m on the world's largest sailing vessel, the 300-foot-long Eos, that's his business. "Once you're in boats, you either go bankrupt or you keep going," Diller told Lloyd Grove.The rumored $200,000 spent on silverware alone? Diller is 65 years old, and has worked hard all his life; he likes to entertain; so no judgment. But the tycoon's biggest backer, John Malone's Liberty Media, may not look so forgivingly on the expense of IAC's fancy headquarters. The Gehry-designed building on the Hudson waterfront of Manhattan, easily accessed by yacht, was quoted at a surprisingly modest $100m. But that was before decoration. We hear the fancy Italian carpeting of the IAC boss' office suite may have cost up to $1m. And I doubt Diller paid that out of his own pocket. IAC peons, or agents of Malone: what's the story? (After the jump, Diller explains his passion for big yachts: "It's not about size.")

Diller Being Polite

Nick Denton · 01/31/08 03:14PM

Barry Diller's IAC claims in filings that the internet conglomerate's largest shareholder, John Malone's Liberty Media, is trying to "cripple" its business. The Colorado billionaire, aka Darth Vader, is attempting a boardroom coup. Strong language, but we were hoping for something more colorful from the embattled mogul, who had called the corporate predator's effort "insane" and his claims "hogwash".

Career Advice For Barry Diller

Nick Denton · 01/29/08 05:43PM

What should Barry Diller do? The IAC boss is being hung, slowly, by his largest shareholder. And for good reason: although online commerce and advertising is growing, the internet conglomerate has shrunk in value from $22bn to just over $7bn over five years. Barry Diller's reputation as a canny businessman, built up over decades in the movie and TV business, is tarnished. IAC has proven completely unable to build new businesses; and the New York group has had little success with the assets it bought. Let us count the fuckups.

What the Liberty fight reveals: Diller's no entrepreneur

Owen Thomas · 01/29/08 01:55PM

Having borrowed his empire, Barry Diller is now living on borrowed time. Former cable baron John Malone's Liberty Media is trying to break the sophisticated financial arrangements which give Diller control over IAC, his online conglomerate. Diller calls the effort "insane," "hogwash." But here's the reality: Diller owns 28 percent of the company, while Liberty owns 24 percent, according to the company's most recent proxy statement. Liberty, however, controls nearly 60 percent of the company's voting stock. Diller, in turn, has the right to vote Liberty's shares. This complicated entanglement is what Liberty and Diller are fighting about. Far more interesting than the legalisms is what it shows about Diller — and why Diller's so unhappy about it.

Evil Battle To The Death Joined, Insanely

Ryan Tate · 01/29/08 01:32AM

It is really, truly war between dark media lord John Malone and his apprentice in evil, ruthless IAC queen Barry Diller. Malone has filed suit to remove Diller from a series of shell companies through which Diller maintains a stranglehold in IAC; he also alleged some sort of "misconduct." Diller, in turn, said the following: "I am beginning to think these people are insane. Everything they cite is hogwash." Those "insane" people Diller refers to control about 60 percent of his company, so it's safe to assume Diller will keep siphoning their profit into his paychecks and smashing his company into pieces that can't be taken from him. [Wall Street Journal]

Owen Thomas · 01/28/08 07:18PM

The fight between John Malone and Barry Diller is getting brutal. As Diller prepares to spin off several businesses, leaving a company focused on the Oakland-based search engine, Malone's Liberty Media has asked a court to remove Diller from IAC's board and allow Liberty to appoint several board members, in an effort to seize control of the company. Liberty owns 30 percent of IAC, and holds 62 percent of the voting rights, but an agreement allows Diller to vote Liberty's shares, giving him effective control of the company. [WSJ]

Darth Vader's Pupil

Nick Denton · 01/25/08 11:45AM

It's so hard to know which corporate villain to root for. John Malone, the 'Darth Vader' of the cable industry, has built up a dominant stake in Barry Diller's IAC and is putting on the squeeze with a lawsuit. But the internet conglomerate's killer queen has learned well from his evil master: Diller is turning Malone's shares against him, siphoning off outsized personal pay while he buys playthings like the College Humor kids, and generally runs Malone's investment into the ground. (Confused? Here's Duff McDonald's explanation.)

Did Bill Miller sell out Barry Diller?

Owen Thomas · 01/12/08 06:55PM

Word now comes that Liberty, former cable baron John Malone's company, has opportunistically paid $340 million for 14 million shares in Barry Diller's IAC, raising its stake to 30 percent. IAC, too, repurchased 6 million shares at the same time. That means that Diller must have begrudgingly consented to the sale; at the same time, he reached an agreement that prevented Malone from taking a bigger stake in the online conglomerate. But who was the seller?

Everybody's Scared Of Somebody

Nick Denton · 01/12/08 06:46PM

What's the meaning of the terse statement that billionaire John Malone has increased his stake in IAC to 30%? IAC's Barry Diller is pretty menacing, in a killer queen fashion. But Malone is the one tycoon that all the others, including Diller and even Rupert Murdoch, are scared by. His dealmaking ruthlessness is such that the Liberty Media boss was nicknamed 'Darth Vader' by his peers in the cable industry, in which he made his first fortune. In October, Malone bluntly told the Wall Street Journal he thought Barry Diller was no longer bringing value to Ticketmaster,, College Humor and the other sites IAC owns. "The hook is set. It is our company," he said of IAC. "Barry ain't going to be able to spit the hook." By dropping the news on a Friday evening, Barry Diller may minimize his public humiliation. But that doesn't alter the reality: he's bent to Darth Vader's will.

Barry Diller's empire to break into tiny little bits

Owen Thomas · 11/05/07 10:58AM

Telecom mogul John Malone has been putting the squeeze on his old buddy Barry Diller, who runs IAC. So what does Diller do? Break his search and e-commerce conglomerate into five parts. Diller's sticking with the new IAC, which will mostly consist of the search engine — oh, and Jakob Lodwick, too. HSN, Ticketmaster, LendingTree, and Interval International are getting spun off. We just want to know who's getting stuck with the bill for IAC's new headquarters in Chelsea.

Enemies List: Rupert Murdoch

Chris Mohney · 12/27/06 05:15PM

No one but the Devil knows every name on Rupert Murdoch's enemies list, and that's only because Satan takes dictation from Murdoch. Still, the News Corp. chairman has an impressive history of racking up nemeses on several continents. So far, he's either wrestled them to the carpet or held them at bay in one form or another. But even with regular infusions of industrial-strength nookie from a wife half his age, the man still has to watch the ramparts for skulking invaders. To that end, consider a short and by no means comprehensive list of Murdoch's opponents — past, present, future, or some combination thereof.

The big heist: AOL/TW

Gawker · 01/12/03 10:43AM

CNBC's documentary on the AOL/Time Warner merger, titled "The Big Heist," is one big lesson in C-level schadenfreude. The big media big boys Sumner Redstone, John Malone, Michael Eisner, etc., can barely contain their glee as they talk about The Deal They Didn't Do. Levin is ultimately exhonerated for being an all-around nice guy, while Case is portrayed as the evil mastermind behind the operation. Case, according to ex-boss James Kimsey, has no intention of going anywhere.
How AOL took Time Warner
See also: Ex-TW Exec, Jeff Jarvis, on "The Big Heist":
The flim-flam spam man [Buzzmachine]