IAC Posts Loss as LendingTree Drags it Down

February 6, 2008 No Comments »

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IAC/InterActiveCorp, parent company of LendingTree, posted a fourth quarter net loss of $369.9 million, or $1.31 a share, compared to profit of $15.3 million, or 5 cents per share, a year ago.

The loss was largely related to a $475.7 million impairment charge the company took for its ailing LendingTree unit, a mortgage lead aggregator.

Excluding the LendingTree writedown and other one-time gains and charges, IAC earned 46 cents a share.

“There is good news and bad news this quarter — the mix of which is another reason why our previously announced plans to reorganize IAC into five independent public companies makes more and more sense,” Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Diller said in a statement.

During the quarter, revenue at LendingTree fell 55 percent thanks to the ongoing mortgage crisis.

The unit swung to an operating loss of $508.1 million, including the impairment charge, from a profit of $7.2 million during the same period a year ago.

In recent months, LendingTree has cut down their staff considerably, laying off 220 employees, or about 20 percent of its remaining work force in mid-December.

The company had previously laid off 440 employees in May and 250 employees during September.

Two years ago, LendingTree employed more than 2,000 workers nationwide and had plans to hire more.

Despite that, it’s been reported that LendingTree is in fact hiring again, running ads that say “no mortgage experience necessary”.

Interestingly, the company is also launching a student loan service called TuitionTree.

IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns a slew of businesses ranging from Ask.com to Ticketmaster to the Home Shopping Network, is currently seeking to spin off the companies into five separate firms.

Shares of IAC were down 72 cents, or 2.93%, to $23.83 in early afternoon trading, hitting a fresh 52-week low of $23.10 during the session.

(photo: thingermejig)

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