IAC revenues rise with Ask.com acquisition

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InterActiveCorp, owner of the Home Shopping TV network and an array of websites, on Tuesday said quarterly revenues rose 18 per cent, boosted by its acquisition of Ask.com.

IAC reported revenues of $1.612bn in the second quarter, ahead of Wall Street expectations of $1.60bn. Its shares closed 5.9 per cent higher in New York to close at $25.11.

IAC acquired Ask.com in July last year and the quarterly results showed media and advertising revenues from searches growing more than 1,000 per cent to $131m from last time.

Barry Diller, chief executive, said Ask was seeing good growth in queries – up 40 per cent year-on-year – as well as increased monetisation through search advertising. “We had pretty aggressive goals and we are 10 per cent ahead of our plot year-to-date,” he said.

Mr Diller admitted to problems with the UK version of Ask, which had become cluttered with ads that affected the user experience. But he said these had been reduced.

IAC’s performance was also driven by a strong showing from the Home Shopping Network in the US with sales up 4 per cent at $696m, and from its Ticketmaster agency, where sales grew 14 per cent year-on-year to $295m.

Imran Khan, JPMorgan analyst, said while numbers were generally in line with his estimates, he maintained a cautious view on the stock because of challenges in HSN International and the Lending Tree lending business, where revenues were 9 per cent below his forecasts at $108m.

HSN International’s sales of $79m were down 17 per cent on a year earlier. Mr Diller blamed problems in moving to a new distribution centre.

IAC reported adjusted earnings per share, which took out gains a year earlier and some amortisation charges and other items, of 32 cents or $108m, up 12 per cent. Analysts had predicted 29 cents on average.

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