IAC's CEO says that understanding consumer-focused internet brands is keeping IAC's stock flying high
- IAC is a $15 billion media juggernaut that includes properties like Angi Homeservices, Match Group, and Dotdash.
- The company's stock has performed well in recent years because of the company's ability to play with "lots of different businesses, lots of different brands," said CEO Joey Levin.
- With Angie's List, IAC kept such close tabs on the company through competitor Home Advisor that eventually the two companies combined into Angi Homeservices.
Facebook and Google continue to dominate digital media, but IAC InterActive seems to have found a way to stand out.
The $15 billion internet conglomerate founded by media mogul Barry Diller operates dozens of digital brands like Angi Homeservices, Match Group, and Dotdash. In September, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill called IAC "the unsung hero of the internet."Joey Levin, CEO of IAC, said IAC's strategy is all about investing in a sprawling amount of companies that is constantly changing. He spoke during a talk at Business Insider's Ignition conference Monday with Nicholas Carlson, global editor-in-chief of Business Insider and chief content officer at Insider Inc.
"We don't have our scorecard in one simple stock chart or one simple company," he said. "It doesn't always have to be in one neat little file. We can mix things up a little bit."
The strategy appears to be working, at least for Wall Street. From December 2016 to October of this year, IAC's stock has over-performed by 185%, according to a slide that Levin shared during the talk.
Levin said that for the past decade or so, IAC has focused on consumer-focused internet companies that are smaller than the massive platforms.
Occasionally IAC will spin-off or sell one of its assets but the firm's assumption is that it will operate the asset forever, which, said Levin, "means at some point the cash flow is going to be our problem."
IAC isn't afraid to dig into competitors' business to win dealsTake Angi Homeservices. The unit is made up of Angie's List and Home Advisor.
When IAC first looked into acquiring Angie's List, a deal fell through but then came together again because IAC was keeping close tabs on the company.
Home Advisor started taking a page from Angie's List's playbook, like opening a sales center in Indianapolis where Angie's List was headquartered.
"We were very focused on winning - we were, I think, tough competitors, but at the same time, when we went to do a deal - and this is really a credit to Tom Evans - we said, 'We have a vision for this, we think we can do some amazing things with this company, with this brand,'" Levin said.
That process comes down to IAC's ability to compartmentalize its business, he said.
"We can be suing somebody on one side and partnering with them on another side - it's the reality," Levin said.