Mogul Barry Diller has stepped down as CEO of IAC. At the same time, John Malone's Liberty Media announced a transaction disposing of its entire equity stake in IAC for a combination of $220 million and assets including Evite and Gifts.com.
Diller, who swapped about 4.3 million shares of his IAC common stock for the same number of shares of IAC Class B common stock held by Liberty, remains the largest individual shareholder of the company, with about 34% of the total voting rights. He also has the right, and said he intends to, purchase additional shares over the next nine months that would increase is voting share to more than 40%.
The company said Greg Blatt, who has been CEO of its Match.com unit since early 2009, has become CEO of IAC.
"It's been clear to me for some time that this Company needs a full time aggressive and aspirational executive in the CEO role. While I'm not going anywhere, IAC, with its operating businesses growing, large cash resources and virtually no debt, needs the kind of leadership that Greg Blatt can bring it in order to continue to grow and thrive many years into the future," said. Diller in a statement.
"These last 17 years of my association with John Malone and Liberty Media have been a great, and occasionally, wild ride. We began this grand tour of interactivity a few years before the internet became widely used, and we were able to create, acquire and build up substantial businesses over that time," Diller added.
"The one constant throughout IAC's history has been change," said. Blatt, who joined IAC as general counsel five years ago from Marth Stewart Living Omnimedia. "While I expect that to continue, we intend for the same emphasis on consistent operating performance and disciplined deployment of capital that have defined our recent quarters to guide our decision-making and management as we grow IAC into the future. Our businesses are on solid footing, and our healthy balance sheet and strong operating cash flows put us in a great position to drive solid shareholder returns for the foreseeable future. I couldn't be more excited about the new position and the opportunities in front of IAC."
As for Liberty, Malone said that "our 17-year relationship with Barry has been very beneficial in creating value for our shareholders, and this transaction represents an efficient exit for Liberty from our IAC stake. We will continue to work together through Expedia and various other public vehicles created from our association."
Malone added that "we are pleased to welcome Evite and Gifts.com to Liberty Interactive's eCommerce companies. These companies are established leaders and build on our strength in specialty commerce."