Barry Diller turns over reins as CEO of IAC

Long-time media mogul to remain chairman of conglomerate, largest shareholder

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IAC/InteractiveCorp. has a new chief executive.

Long-time CEO Barry Diller is stepping down from that role and putting Match.com's Greg Blatt in charge. The online dating site is one of several online properties owned by IAC.

From the Wall Street Journal:

At the same time, IAC agreed to an asset swap with (John) Malone's Liberty Media Corp. Liberty Media gave up its controlling voting power in IAC in exchange for $220 million and the business that owns Evite and Gifts.com.

Liberty Media held 60% voting power in IAC, whose other holdings include search engine Ask.com. Mr. Diller is now the company's largest owner, with a 34% voting stake. That could rise to 41% as he was granted the right to swap up to 1.5 million common shares for Class B stock.

In addition to being IAC's largest shareholder, Diller will remain the company's chairman.

In a statement announcing the assets swap and top-level changes, Diller said:

"It's been clear to me for some time that this Company needs a full time aggressive and aspirational executive in the CEO role. ... (IAC) needs the kind of leadership that Greg Blatt can bring it in order to continue to grow and thrive many years into the future. Greg Blatt joined IAC in 2003 as General Counsel and in February 2009 we named him CEO of Match.com. Since that time, he has overseen a period of record setting performance in the business, driving revenue, profit, and subscriber growth to strong double digit levels."

Not to mention many deliriously happy lovers who finally found their soulmates!

Last we heard from Diller, he was singing the praises of online video site Vimeo, one of IAC's online holdings. He also took the opportunity to throw Ask.com -- which IAC purchased for $2 billion in 2005 -- under the bus:

“I don’t think anybody ascribes any meaningful value to Ask.com when compared to a site like Vimeo, which has huge potential,” he said.

Geez, you'd think less than 4 percent of the online search market would be worth something.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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