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Barry Diller to Relinquish CEO Title at IAC

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Barry Diller will relinquish his CEO title at IAC, with former Match.com CEO Greg Blatt taking over the CEO position and joining the company’s board, the company announced on Wednesday (Dec. 2). Going forward, Diller will assume the role of chairman and senior executive.

Diller’s move comes as part of a dramatic reorganization of IAC’s ownership base. Liberty Media Corporation will exchange 12.8 million shares of IAC stock, which amounted to 60 percent of the company, for control of the IAC subsidiaries Evite and Gifts.com, along with $220 million in cash.

For Liberty, the move would appear to have obvious synergies. The company already has a sizable footprint in the e-commerce space with the companies BuySeasons, ProFlowers and Red Envelope.

For IAC, the exchange “will allow them to focus more clearly on what we see as its key core business, Match.com,” wrote JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan in a missive issued just after the announcement was made.

As for Diller, the media mogul leaves after a tenure colored by both success and controversy. The one-time Fox CEO and head of Paramount Pictures can boast of bringing online dating to new heights with the acquisition of Match.com in 1999 (when his company was called TMCS), and for nurturing online retail properties such as Expedia and Gifts.com. But over the past several years, Diller’s management stint was tarred by Liberty suing IAC in 2008, when the company was being split into five different pieces.

And just recently, IAC essentially threw in the towel in the online search race while reaching out to struggling Newsweek for help in propping up the two-year-old news aggregator The Daily Beast.

"These last 17 years of my association with [Liberty chairman] John Malone and Liberty Media have been a great, and occasionally, wild ride,” said Diller in a statement. “We began this grand tour of interactivity a few years before the Internet became widely used, and we were able to create, acquire and build up substantial businesses over that time."