IAC Forms New Business Segment in Post-Match Shift to Publishing

IAC/InterActiveCorp. is reorganizing some media, search and applications properties into a new business segment as the company revamps its strategy after last month’s initial public offering of its Match Group Inc. unit.

IAC Publishing will include About.com, Investopedia, the Daily Beast and Dictionary.com, all of which will still operate independently. The plan is to take the most successful advertising and data practices from each business and make them available to the entire segment, Doug Leeds, the chief executive officer of IAC Publishing, said in an interview.

“We can make really nice investments that benefit all these properties as individual companies, and they were also seeing interesting successes that can benefit the group in general,” said Leeds, who previously headed Ask.com. “This will be a great way to scale, which is what we’re all about.”

Match Group raised about $400 million in its share offering and about $1.3 billion in a debt sale -- much of the proceeds were set to be used by IAC, including to retire debt and make investments. IAC remains the largest shareholder in Match Group, owning about 86 percent. Web publishing is one of four main areas IAC will invest in with the cash from the Match offerings, IAC CEO Joey Levin said in a September interview. The other areas of focus are the video platform Vimeo, on-demand home services marketplace HomeAdvisor and the applications business, which includes paid mobile apps.

IAC has spent about half a billion dollars to acquire About.com, Investopedia, and Dictionary.com to help form the publishing group with the Daily Beast, Leeds said. Combined, the four properties will reach about $300 million in revenue in 2015 and are profitable, according to Levin. They have about 100 million unique monthly users in the U.S., New York-based IAC said in a statement Wednesday.

In future earnings reports, IAC will reveal more detailed financial information on the new segment, Leeds said, without specifying when. The combined entity will invest in the business by building technology and buying other companies.

Thus far, About.com was the largest acquisition in the new publishing group at about $300 million, Leeds said. “I don’t have anything in my sights that is bigger than that, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t or why we wouldn’t,” he said.

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