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IAC Goes Google Route

Barry Diller's long list of credits from his days as a media executive include inventing the TV Movie of the Week. So, it figures that the IAC/Interactive (IACI - Get Report) CEO would know how to tell just the right story for the times.

And IAC's transition from stodgy holding company into an Internet conglomerate with some of the hottest online properties -- strung together by a rapidly growing search engine -- seems to be exactly what Wall Street wants to hear these days.

Shares of IAC closed at a 52-week high of $31.60 on Wednesday, climbing 62 cents, or 2%. The rally followed Tuesday's run-up, when IAC gained nearly 4% off the strength of its latest earnings report.

The stock has now surged by one-third since the beginning of August.

Fresh off its well-received earnings announcement, IAC continues to plug away on some of its fastest-growing properties. IAC unit Ask.com, currently the fastest-growing major search engine, announced on Wednesday that it had reached a partnership with Lycos, the fifth-most-popular Web portal in the U.S.

Ask.com nudged out larger rivals, Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) MSN and Google (GOOG), which had previously provided the search technology and advertising listings, respectively, for Lycos. Ask.com expects to field a 100 million queries a month for Lycos because of the arrangement.

Also on Wednesday, Ticketmaster, another IAC property, continued to expand an enviable global footprint through the acquisition of Biletix, a popular Turkish ticket vendor. The announcement comes on the heels of news last week that Ticketmaster will provide ticketing operations for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

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