Taking advantage of weakness in IAC/InterActiveCorp
Liberty is a habitual nibbler. It owns a piece of Expedia
IAC has a lot of cool working parts to like. From the spunky Ask.com search engine or the Match.com dating site, Diller's empire is vast. However, Liberty's interest is more of the old-school variety.
See, Liberty owns QVC, while IAC owns rival Home Shopping Network. The only surprise here is that Liberty is buying now. IAC is committed to splitting up into five distinct entities, giving Liberty the ability to buy into HSN directly or snap it up whole.
Perhaps Liberty is just trying to be a savvy investor here. IAC's fundamentals have recently improved, even as its share price has deteriorated. IAC stock shed 28% of its value last year, and it's off to another bad start in 2008. Liberty's endorsement of IAC as an attractive value at this point may be nothing more than that.
However, a stipulation of the purchase is that IAC will not add to its position for another 15 months. The only thing that would change that is the completion -- or abandonment -- of IAC's plan to split the company.
You just know that other companies are drooling at a chance to buy into IAC's individual businesses after the spinoffs. Live Nation
There is little reason for IAC to halt its breakup plan. Even in a weak market, IAC's shares are already being battered. Liberty's new nibble could be a way to make sure IAC doesn't get distracted along the way.
Then again, when you have so many moving parts, it's hard not to be distracted.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story, though he is a freelance contributor to IAC's CitySearch. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.