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Silverman’s Electus to be a cornerstone of Diller’s move into production

Barry Diller’s programming joint venture with Ben Silverman will be a cornerstone of a push by InterActive Corp into production, the IAC CEO said yesterday.

The JV with Silverman was announced in July, soon after the former Reveille boss had exited US network NBC. The new entity will be called Electus, Diller said. He added that it, along with Connected Ventures, InstantAction and The Daily Beast, will be the focus for a push into production.

IAC has focused on building online brands and owns websites including Ask.com, Pronto.com and Life123.com and has split its business into three areas: search; local; and personals.

“We are beginning to open up a fourth area that we believe can become core and that’s media” Diller said. “What I mean by media is fairly pure content production and this is both for the internet and all of the more historic distribution channels.”

IAC has a large reserve of cash, but Diller added its media play will use a relatively small proportion of that. “Our commitment to this area is real and we’re going to invest,” he said. “In capital terms I think it will be a reasonably small piece, say less than 10% of our US$1.75 billion in cash, and those investments will take place over the next several years.”

IAC might also look to recruit partners for some of its media businesses Diller added. “We will be open to value-creating structural alternatives – there is the possibility of [joint] venturing some of these with other parties.”

IAC reported third quarter revenues of US$336.6 million and an operating profit of US$7.1 million. This compares with revenues of  US$369.3 million and a loss of US$22.6 million in the corresponding period last year.