There's good reason to stay away from shares of IAC/Interactive (IAC) even though, at close to $70, are up 28% for the past 52 weeks and show no signs of slowing down.
IAC/Interactive is a complex company, a potpourri of various Internet assets cobbled by together by Barry Diller, who controls the company. IAC has operations in publishing, home improvement, dating, apps and video. The company brought its dating business Match (MTCH) public in November 2015 but still controls about 85% of Match. Match's results are consolidated with IAC.
IAC/Interactive is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings Feb. 2. Of IAC's $3 billion in estimated total revenue, Match accounts for nearly 40%. Match is estimated to grow about 20% this year and 16% next year.
For the last quarter, on Nov. 2, IAC reported third-quarter earnings of 73 cents per share, 5 cents better than the consensus estimate. Revenue fell 8.9% to $764 million. Match Group revenue jumped 18% to $316.4 million, driven by a 22% increase in dating revenue.
While Match has been powering results for the last few years, the real star of the show is its HomeAdvisor.
HomeAdvisor revenue jumped 34% to $133.6 million. The increase was driven by a 48% growth in paying service professionals to over 137,000 and 27% increase in service requests. HomeAdvisor's operating income more than doubled to $12.8 million.
Meanwhile, the company's publication business is falling apart. In 2013, the publishing group had $803 million in revenue. It is projected to end 2016 with revenue of just $400 million and about $300 million next year. Likewise, the Application Group has seen its revenue decline. In 2016, Applications revenue will likely be down 30% to $584 million.
For fiscal 2016, analysts are looking for earnings of $2.54 on revenue of $3.1 billion. Next year the consensus forecast is sales of $3.36 billion and $3.52 per share in earnings, primarily driven by HomeAdvisor.
I think shares of IAC can go higher as HomeAdvisor is rapidly becoming a category killer in the home improvement space. In addition, Match Group continues to execute well, led by strong growth at Tinder.
However, the complex nature of the company has made investors reluctant to buy. Putting aside Match, IAC is valued at less than $1 billion after subtracting debt. Match is valued at $4.6 billion but the real hidden value is HomeAdvisor.
I haven't recommended the stock because Chairman Diller, while owning just 8% of the shares, controls 80% of the voting power. I have always thought these types of structures were unfair to investors so I have avoided them. Unless the company completely spins out HomeAdvisor, I would stay on the sidelines.