The escalating fight between media barons Barry Diller and John Malone over control of IAC/Interactive Corp. has its origins in the men’s shared talent for wheeling and dealing, the New York Times reports in a portrait of the colorful, headstrong, vastly different moguls. Both have faced accusations of chasing deals that benefit them more than shareholders—a complaint high among those Malone’s Liberty Media has levied against Diller.
In 2005, as IAC was doing poorly, Diller was the highest-paid executive in the US and made $173 million more spinning off Expedia. Built by Diller with Malone’s backing, IAC owns 63 businesses, but its stock has plunged in the last 4 years. One analyst disapproved of its “ceaseless, impatient, opportunistic behavior to buy things.” Diller called the Malone challenge to his leadership "beyond comprehension."