TM Boosts IAC’s 3Q

IAC/InterActiveCorp, owner of Ticketmaster and Home Shopping Network, reported a spike in profit and revenue for the third quarter.

The New York-based conglomerate, controlled by former entertainment exec Barry Diller, reported that net income available to common shareholders increased to $74.95 million, or 24 cents per share, from $68.08 million, or 20 cents per share, last year.

IAC’s overall revenue rose 11 percent to $1.6 billion. Higher ticketing volume and revenue per ticket in the U.S. and abroad helped drive sales up 13 percent at its services unit, led by TM, to $511.9 million.

The company has spent more than $900 million this year buying back 34 million shares and is authorized by its board to buy back an additional 8.8 million shares this year.

In a November 1st earnings call, the company also announced that its board added 60 million shares to its buyback program. IAC also owns Citysearch, Evite and other Web sites.

“The lending and real estate segments continue to face challenging macro headwinds … and retailing continues to have anemic growth,” Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto wrote. “Thus, it is increasingly important that solid trends continue in businesses such as, personals and ticketing.”

Excluding noncash compensation expenses and other costs, IAC earned 35 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of earnings of 33 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. Revenue missed the $1.61 billion estimate.

IAC shares rose $1.16, or 3.89 percent, to close at $30.98 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Ticket sales were bolstered by big-name acts including U2, Madonna, and The Rolling Stones, which drove ticket prices higher in the quarter, Lehman Brothers analyst Douglas Anmuth wrote in an October 30th research report. He said ticket auctions are also leading to higher prices.

In the fourth quarter, the company expects results from ticket sales to moderate, given a tough comparison to the fourth quarter last year. Chief financial officer Thomas McInerney said IAC anticipated mid-single digit revenue growth with approximately flat margins.