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It's no secret about our love for the ASK.com search engine. So we're happy to see reports that Barry Diller, Chairman and CEO of Interactive (IAC) hints that some further acquisitions may be coming for his company. As taken from an interview with AdAge:
Ad Age: The new slimmer, trimmer IAC has a lot of cash. What might you do with it?
Mr. Diller: [Laughs] Well, we're comfortable keeping it. It doesn't cry for spending. But classically, at least for us, cash is to be used to invest in our businesses, to acquire businesses and when we're finished with those, then we repatriate it to our shareholders. That's the purpose of cash. We want to keep good cash balances because we want to be ready for any opportunity. We're essentially opportunistic.
Ad Age: Are there sizes of acquisitions you'd rule out?
Mr. Diller: Never. We'd never rule anything out. ... I don't want to set the world up for surprises. We've tended to surprise people every year with something. So I hope there'll be a few more, but hopefully not shock.
Ad Age: There's still talk that Jeffrey Bewkes could break up Time Warner. Would you ever be interested in AOL?
Mr. Diller: We've talked over the years about our interest in AOL and never been able to get Time Warner to engage with us. I've always said AOL is great opportunity for somebody. When and if Warner doesn't want it, I'll certainly be at the door.
and when asked about ASK.com,
Ad Age: I can't let you go without asking about Ask. Are you happy with how Ask.com is doing?
Mr. Diller: We feel great. We've been able to grow queries second only to Google. We've increased retention, frequency. All the metrics for Ask are very good. Now we have a new five-year arrangement with Google on the sponsored listings that's going to be very, very remunerative to us. Ask is going to be able to continue to innovate. To me, anyone who uses Ask -- well, I can't say anyone, but I think enough people have said other than us that we've got a very good search-differentiated product from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft, which has all sorts of value-added ways to search that people like.
Sounds good to us. ASK is the coolest search engine out there offering a better user experience and a richer search experience. Can't wait to see what they have in store for 2008.