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IAC Bets Curious Teens Can Boost Sales With Deal

Billionaire Barry Diller is betting that smartphone-tethered teens can stem falling sales at by acquiring, a social network that lets users pose anonymous questions.

Terms weren’t disclosed in a statement today on the deal. Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, the parent of, gets’s 180 million unique users a month in more than 150 countries. seeks to answer questions in Web searches using natural language.

“It’s a natural entry into a market segment and platform where has been looking to expand,” Doug Leeds, the unit’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

IAC, based in New York, is seeking to expand’s offerings to reverse a sales decline. Revenue at has fallen the past two quarters from a year earlier after the company had to adapt to Google Inc.’s recalibration of its algorithm for the prices set by its advertising services.

Identity-free social networking has grown in popularity among millennial smartphone users, with the rise of anonymity tools from Secret Inc., Whisper and Yik Yak. has drawn a dedicated base of users who raise questions they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking if they had to identify themselves.

The anonymous sites have come under fire for being vehicles for bullying. To ease those concerns, said it’s working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler to develop ways to protect users.

While investor Rubylight will keep a minority stake in the business, the company’s founders will no longer be involved in any way, said.

Diller, 72, has expanded IAC with bolt-on acquisitions such as in 2012 of in 2012 for $300 million and last year’s $80 million purchase of ValueClick Inc. websites including Investopedia and Coupon Mountain.

IAC rose 1.3 percent to $65.62 at 11:32 a.m. in New York. The shares had slid 5.7 percent this year through yesterday.

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