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IAC to spin off ticket seller

June 24, 2008|From Bloomberg News

Ticketmaster Inc. is expected to be spun off from IAC/InterActiveCorp by late July or early August and will borrow $750 million to pay a dividend to its former parent, IAC Chief Financial Officer Tom McInerney said Monday.

The Los Angeles-based company, the world's largest processor of tickets for concerts and sporting events, said during a conference call with analysts that after the spinoff it would have net debt of about two times its annual profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

The $750 million represents new borrowing, not an allocation of New York-based IAC's $1.44 billion of long-term debt, IAC spokeswoman Leslie Cafferty said in an interview. HSN Inc. and Interval Leisure Group will also pay dividends to IAC as they are split off, McInerney added.

"We haven't disclosed how we plan to invest that or allocate it within IAC," Cafferty said.

IAC, the Internet company controlled by Barry Diller, will retain its Ask.com search engine and Match.com dating service, among other businesses, once Ticketmaster, HSN, Interval Leisure and the LendingTree mortgage-referral service become independent companies.

The conference call was the first of a series IAC was holding for managers of the four spinoff companies to meet with analysts and investors.

IAC fell 35 cents to $20.24 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading and has dropped 25% this year.

Ticketmaster will benefit from international expansion, especially in China, and the growth of private sales of tickets from one consumer to another, Chief Executive designate Sean Moriarty said during the call. Ticketmaster hasn't been hurt so far by falling consumer confidence, he said.

Ticketmaster's brand name should help it compete with reseller StubHub.com, a unit of EBay Inc., Moriarty said.

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