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InterActiveCorp Lifted by Travel

Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp (IACI) saw second-quarter profit contract due to a huge gain in the year-ago quarter, but posted a 38% rise in revenue thanks to big gains at its Expedia (EXPE) and Hotels.com (ROOM) portfolio companies.

InterActiveCorp, which used to be called USA Interactive, earned $96.2 million, or 16 cents a share, in the latest quarter, on revenue of $1.53 billion. That compares to earnings of $2.28 billion, or $5.51 a share, on revenue of $1.11 billion last year. The year-ago quarter included a gain of $2.38 billion related to its USA Entertainment stake; before that, InterActiveCorp lost $86.7 million, or 22 cents a share.

Earnings from continuing operations were $57.9 million, or 9 cents a share, in the latest quarter. The company also posted "adjusted" earnings of 18 cents a share, which topped the analyst consensus compiled by Thomson First Call by a penny.

Driving revenue was a 73% top-line gain at Expedia and a 47% jump at Hotels.com, reflecting strength in the merchant lodging and international businesses. Overall revenue from electronic retailing was $527 million, up 18%, while HSN's U.S. revenue rose 8%.

For all of 2003, InterActive said it expects to meet or exceed its own estimate for adjusted earnings of 75 cents a share. The First Call estimate is for full-year earnings of 78 cents a share. The outlook was sending the shares lower on Instinet. They were recently down $1.90, or 5%, to $37.60.

Among other metrics, ticketing revenue grew 7% to $187.5 million from $175.4 million, reflecting higher revenue per ticket, offset by a slight decrease in tickets sold. Personals revenue increased 62% to $48.2 million from $29.7 million.

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