IAC's Barry Diller Steps Down as CEO

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IAC/InteractiveCorp's (IACI) Barry Diller has stepped down as CEO as the Internet company announced it has bought out its major stockholder, John Malone's Liberty Media (LINTA).

Liberty has exchanged its entire equity stake in IAC -- approximately 12.8 million shares, or 60% voting power -- for $220 million in cash and the Evite and Gifts.com businesses. The transaction was completed on Dec. 1.

Greg Blatt, the 42-year-old CEO of IAC's Match.com, has taken over as CEO and joined IAC's board. Blatt joined IAC in 2003 as General Counsel and in February 2009 became CEO of Match.com.

"A Turning Point"

"It's been clear to me for some time that this company needs a full-time aggressive and aspirational executive in the CEO role," Diller said in a statement.

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Diller has assumed the role of chairman and senior executive, and is now the company's largest owner with a 34% voting stake, the company said. This could rise to 41% if he exchanges up to 1.5 million common shares for Class B stock. In addition to Match.com, IAC's holdings include Ask.com, Dictionary.com, Excite, Vimeo and Citysearch among others.

Diller and Malone have been business partners since 1993. But in recent years Malone tried to break up IAC, Dow Jones writes. Diller added, "While I'll continue my association with Dr. Malone in Expedia, and as significant shareholders of the multiple spun-off companies, Liberty's exit from IAC is a turning point."

Shares of IAC were 2.3% higher in early trading.

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