Barry Diller's new media empire will continue to be entertaining but no longer Entertainment.
You're probably familiar with Entertainment Publications. If you've ever owned one of the city-specific Entertainment books -- available through the company, but typically sold as a fundraiser or at certain retailers -- you've thumbed through the publisher's handiwork.
The allure of half-priced hotel stays or steep coupon discounts at area eateries and retailers makes the book a good value. Everybody wins, too. The buyer gets big price breaks. The bookseller gets a piece of the sale. Participating discounters attract incremental business.
You know it's a good business when the company hasn't fallen for the temptation of turning its Entertainment.com domain into a stickier leisure portal. Then again, seeing how Hollywood Media
Shedding Entertainment will help the company's bottom line. Operating income before amortization clocked in at $13.9 million and $8.9 million in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The result was an operating loss for the division.
This move will also help Diller's plan to split his empire into five standalone units. Entertainment was slated to be part of the New IAC arm, loaded with its online growth darlings like Ask.com, Citysearch.com, and Match.com. It won't have Entertainment slowing down the cyberspace-powered engine there anymore.
Will more deals be made before the split? It's always possible. I have suggested that Ticketmaster would look good on Live Nation's
The move to split IAC into manageable chunks is a good one. If the price is right there is nothing wrong with IAC selling more of its empire piecemeal. And if the price isn't right, maybe IAC could use one of those coupons from the Entertainment books it no longer owns.
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