Barry Diller and John Malone Break Out the Big Guns

Barry Diller and John Malone
Photo: Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images (2), Landov (Malone)

It's a rumble! Yesterday Liberty Corp John Malone took steps to seize control of IAC/InterActiveCorp from IAC chairman Barry Diller, in a move that marked an "escalation of hostilities" between Diller and his longtime backer Malone. That's how The Wall Street Journal put it, but to us it sounds more like nuclear war. Malone signaled he was plotting a coup in IAC — a $7 billion conglomerate that includes the Home Shopping Network and Ticketmaster — when he upped his stake earlier this month, and last week, the two filed suit against each other in Delaware Chancery Court. Now, Malone is attempting to get around a proxy agreement that guarantees Diller a voting stake in IAC, and eject him from the company for good, citing Diller's "misconduct" and criticizing the giant paychecks he writes himself. "I am beginning to think these people are insane," Diller said in a statement. "Everything they cite is hogwash." Business Week suggests that Malone's Machiavellian maneuvering has less to do with his concern for shareholders and more to do with the fact that he is trying to get a cut-rate deal for the Home Shopping Network, so that he may merge it with Liberty's QVC, creating one monster television and online outlet for porcelain vases and zirconium jewelry. But is their highly public battle only going to scorch the earth?

Malone Moves to Oust Diller [Business Week]
Liberty Media Moves to Take IAC From Diller [WSJ]
Earlier: Barry Diller and John Malone Kick Each Other Under the Table; Barry Diller and John Malone Get in the Ring