IAC aims for love match with Yahoo

NEW YORK – InterActiveCorp (IAC) has confirmed that it is in talks to buy Yahoo Personals, which it hopes will boost it’s Match.com online dating agency business.

Chief executive Barrry Diller commented, “We are very interested. We’d love to have Yahoo! Personals and I think there is some initial discussions about that, whether they’re going away or not is of course enormously speculative.”

Yahoo has been keen recently to get rid of some of its non-core assets under new CEO Carol Bartz, with the latest casualty being GeoCities. Earlier, she got rid of travel search engine FareChase and the Briefcase online storage service. There has been speculation that its job-listing service HotJobs could be next.

Diller commented, “I think Yahoo! has said that it’s not an absolute core asset for their future, and it is core to us. We’re a leader in the category. So, we’re very aggressive behind Match and any possibilities for increasing its future money in the world.”

IAC already has listings on MSN and AOL, and adding Yahoo would fill out the list rather nicely, giving it access to all three major portals. It would also give Match.com a stronger position in a market which is increasingly fragmented, due to the rise in free, advertising-supported sites.

Analysts suggest that Yahoo Personals could be worth around $500 million.

Diller’s comments came as the company posted a first-quarter net loss of $28.6 million, due to falling advertising revenues.