As of 1pm, the stock was trading at $23.55 on volume of more than 2.43 million shares. The stock hovered in the $23 range throughout much of the day, and opened at $20.20. Its high today was $24.50.
“Armed with outstanding management teams, appropriate capital structures and their own currencies, HSNi [Home Shopping Network], Ticketmaster, Interval [Leisure Group] and Tree.com are now ready for independent futures … while the Internet businesses that make up new IAC can operate with a collective purpose and common goals,” Barry Diller, Chairman and CEO of IAC, said in a statement. “The work is done and our focus now is moving forward.”
IAC first announced its intention to spin off Ticketmaster and the other assets last fall, a couple of months after its largest client, Live Nation, said it would end its relationship with Ticketmaster and start its own ticketing operation.
Ticketmaster President and CEO Sean Moriarty appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (click here for video) earlier today to reiterate his belief that the company is well-positioned to thrive after its ticketing contract with Live Nation expires at the end of the year. By contrast, Live Nation’s stock was trading at $16 per share also at 1pm, down about $1.
Over the past several years, Ticketmaster has solidified its standing as the dominant ticketing company in the world, according to TicketNews’s exclusive industry rankings, on revenues of $1.24 billion in 2007 and just under $170 million in profit for the year. It is in the midst of a major expansion into international markets, and the secondary ticket market with its purchase of TicketsNow.
But, the company remains a target of criticism for its convenience fees and business practices, such as the allegation that it withholds premium tickets to some shows only to place them for sale at higher prices on TicketsNow. Ticketmaster denies the charge, stressing that artists are placing tickets on the exchange.
In addition, the company will have to make up anywhere from about 15 percent to an estimated 40 percent of its business with the loss of Live Nation.
How its stock will fare is anyone’s guess, but an informal survey of several ticket brokers and ticketing executives showed a lack of enthusiasm for buying the shares.
“If Ticketmaster is run anywhere nearly as poorly as TicketsNow is, then the stock is only going one place – down,” said one prominent ticket broker who requested anonymity. He added that he did not know any brokers who were planning to buy the stock.