IAC/InterActiveCorp

(IACI)

posted solid gains in first-quarter earnings and revenue Wednesday.

Barry Diller's e-commerce conglomerate, which is in the process of acquiring search engine

Ask Jeeves

(ASKJ)

, made $72.2 million, or 9 cents a share, in the first quarter, up from the year-ago $41.5 million, or 5 cents a share. On a so-called adjusted basis, excluding certain costs, latest-quarter earnings were 22 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the Thomson First Call Wall Street consensus estimate.

Revenue rose to $1.65 billion from $1.44 billion a year earlier, slipping past the $1.63 billion consensus estimate. The company said revenue growth was 13% at the core IAC business, which comprises the retailing and media services businesses that will remain part of InterActiveCorp, and 17% at the travel businesses, which are to be spun off.

The company said the travel business saw revenue rise 14% to $564 million, led by 36% growth in overseas revenue. But the U.S. hotel business "continues to operate in a more challenging environment than in the prior year period, due primarily to increased competition from third party distributors, increased promotion by hotel chains of their own direct sites and higher overall occupancy rates, resulting in decreased availability of favorably priced inventory compared with the prior year period. These trends are generally expected to continue," IAC said.

IAC shares were hit hard last year when the company

bowed to the reality of the rough and tumble U.S. hotel business and reduced its growth expectations for the unit.

Revenue at the HSN home-shopping unit rose 6% to $498 million, while ticketing revenue rose 4% to $211 million.

IAC said it has bought back 49.2 million shares through May 3, at an average price of $22.13. The stock closed Tuesday at $22.06.