IAC’s Diller Decides Not To Sell Ask.com

The mercurial Barry Diller, CEO of IAC, decided apparently that he didn’t want to sell Ask. During the Q3 earnings call Reuters reported that Diller said the following:

“We’ve been asked a lot whether we’re open to consolidating transactions in the area of search. The answer is yes,” Diller said. “And, it is unlikely that we would be the consolidator.”

According to a new Reuters report he turned away several would-be buyers after some preliminary discussions:

AC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller said he has been approached by various parties about purchasing Ask.com, but he is less interested in divesting the search engine as a stand-alone business than consolidating it with another search company . . .

The veteran media dealmaker said that while Ask.com is not core to IAC’s future, he had not meant to suggest in October that the company was keen for an immediate divestiture.

He says now that he’d like to partner with another company in search. Well there ain’t that many anymore; we essentially are moving toward a search “duopoly” with Google and the “Microsoft network,” including Yahoo and, in the near future, perhaps AOL and Ask.

Meanwhile over in comScoreland, the company is reporting that Bing has hit 10% market share, while the venerable number two (Yahoo) is sliding. The data will be out tomorrow in the form of a release. Meanwhile Business Insider has it a day early:

  • Bing represented 10.3% of the market in November, up from 9.9% in October, according to comScore. That’s up from 8.0% in May.
  • Yahoo share was 17.5% in November, down from 18.0% in October. That’s down from 20.1% in May.
  • Google was 65.6% in November, up from 65.4% in October. That’s up from 65.0% in May.

The question to ask is: why the slide at Yahoo? If search share continues to decline further it will be a big problem for the company with shareholders.

Will CEO Carol Bartz, who came out of the gate very strong but has made some mistakes, be seen in retrospect as the turnaround maven she was hired to be or the executive who sold search to Microsoft and presided over the “AOL-ification” of the company?

Related Topics: Ask: Business Issues | Channel: Industry

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    Search share at Yahoo! is sliding because people no longer believe that Yahoo! wants to be involved in search. We’ve seen the death of search brands before. Yahoo! is walking down that same path.

    Diller needs to get his act together while he still has an opportunity to act.

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