Investors may still have a hard time understanding how all of IAC/InterActiveCorp's
Formerly USA Interactive, and even more formerly USA Networks, InterActive owns an impressive stable of companies, among them travel sites Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, and Expedia; electronic retailers HSN and Home Shopping Europe; dating services Match.com and uDate.com; online loan facilitator LendingTree; and well-known but not-well-loved Ticketmaster.
InterActive's fourth-quarter earnings this morning revealed total revenues 36% ahead of last year's number and 142% growth in operating income. Adjusted earnings moved up 21% to $0.29 per share. Free cash flow for all of 2003 grew by 81%. Looking at some of the major segments, Travel revenue was up 41%, Personals 29%, Electronic Retailing 14%, and Ticketing 11%.
These are mighty fine numbers from a company Diller believes belongs in the same class as Internet superstars eBay
Those who want a piece of the Internet commerce sector, but are wary of the valuations of the Big Three, should give InterActive a closer look. Diller has done his best to make things more accessible and understandable, and seems genuine in his efforts to focus on long-term results even at the expense of short-term gains. He long ago gave up the earnings guidance game, and is determined to keep the slick sales-speak to a minimum. As an example, of all the different positives today's earnings report could have touted, the press release was titled simply: "IAC Reports Q4 2003 Results."
Rex Moore owns shares of eBay. Check out his Valentine's Day stock idea in Stocks Fools Love. You're sure to get hooked.