Diller sees more competitive HSN in 18 months

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NEW YORK -- IAC/InterActiveCorp. chief executive Barry Diller said Monday the company's HSN home shopping network is poised to close the gap with rival Liberty Media's QVC over the next 18 months.

"What I would say is that HSN, which has been growing over these 10 years, but has never been particularly competitive with QVC (shopping network), is at a stage now where I would say it might be more competitive to its far larger player," Diller told the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

"That tale will be told in the next 18 months," Diller said, talking about a move to stronger growth. "While I think we have great new leadership ... it's not yet in evidence."

IAC is reshaping its HSN retail segment, and also aims to keep costs down for its LendingTree.com mortgage business amid a weak U.S. real estate market.

Diller's Internet media conglomerate has seen profits grow with strong revenue from its Ticketmaster ticketing service business and online dating service Match.com.

IAC's search and media business includes Ask.com and Citysearch, which compete with industry leaders Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

IAC is slated to join the S&P 500 Index after the close of trading Thursday, joining a list of stocks watched by many portfolio managers who try to track the index.

The company's share has outperformed that index since the beginning of the year, with a 25% increase compared with a 12% gain for the S&P 500.
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