Looking to combine The New York Times Company’s information portal About.com with its own question-and-answer service, Ask.com, Barry Diller’s IAC offered to acquire the About Group on Aug. 21. The NYT Co said Sunday it had agreed to sell the company, which also includes ConsumerSearch.com and CalorieCount.com, to IAC in an all-cash deal that is expected to close in the next several weeks. The NYT Co paid $410M for About in 2005, but its fortunes have soured against competition from Google. Nevertheless, NYT Co chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. said Sunday, “About.com has been a strong contributor to our company since its acquisition. This sale will allow the Times Company to focus on the development and growth of our core brands locally, nationally and on a global scale.”
One-time Hollywood mogul and now Internet salesman Barry Diller announced today he has stepped down from his role as CEO of the IAC/InterActiveCorp. IAC said Diller has been replaced as CEO by Greg Blatt, formerly the CEO of the online dating site Match.com. Diller stays on as chairman of IAC. In addition, Liberty Media Corp dumps its 60% stake in IAC for the company’s Evite and Gifts.com businesses and about $220 million in cash. The exchange was designed to be tax-free to both IAC and Liberty since John Malone is so obsessed about paying corporate taxes. And Malone also detests Diller, who hilariously thanked his former legal sparring partner ”for his support and encouragement throughout (with one brief period of mutual discontent which we both believe was an aberration).”
NEW YORK and ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 2, 2010 — IAC and Liberty Media Corporation announced today that Liberty has exchanged its entire equity stake in IAC for a combination of operating assets and cash in a transaction intended to be tax-free to Liberty and IAC. Pursuant to the transaction, completed on December 1, Liberty exchanged approximately 12.8 million shares of IAC stock (consisting of approximately 8.5 million shares of Class B stock and 4.3 million shares of common stock, and representing approximately 60% of the total votes of all classes of IAC stock) for all of the capital stock of a wholly-owned subsidiary of IAC that holds the Evite and Gifts.com businesses, and
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that talks between The Daily Beast and Newsweek have cratered. The two companies had been discussing a deal to make Tina Brown editor of Newsweek. But details couldn’t be worked out surrounding the division of power between Brown, new Newsweek owner Sidney Harman, and Barry Diller, who’s chairman of Daily Beast owner IAC. Harman recently purchased Newsweek from the Washington Post Co. for the sum of $1.
MTV CHANGE-UP: Tony DiSanto & Liz Gateley Exit For ProdCo Backed By Ben Silverman; David Janollari To Get Upped
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that MTV’s president of programming Tony DiSanto and his top lieutenant, SVP series development Liz Gateley, will be leaving the network to form a production company that will focus on film as well as scripted and unscripted television. I hear Ben Silverman’s Electus, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, will own a stake in the new company which has already lined up a number of commitments, including some from MTV. Meanwhile, former WB entertainment president David Janollari, who joined MTV in January as EVP scripted development, will most likely be elevated to a top programming position at the channel. Janollari, who may not inherit DiSanto’s president of programming title, would probably oversee series but not specials, news and events. I hear Janollari has been offered the job and has until tomorrow to accept, which he is expected to do. DiSanto and Gateley are expected to stay through the end of the year to help with the transition.