Barry Diller’s IAC Takes $1 Billion Stake in MGM Resorts With Eye on Online Gaming

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Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActive said Monday it had taken a 12 percent interest in global hospitality and entertainment company MGM Resorts International. IAC estimated the stake’s value at $1 billion, making it a minority investor.

Diller, who serves double duty as chairman of the board and senior executive of IAC and Expedia Group, has been leading a reorganization of IAC, a New York-based conglomerate that owns video platform Vimeo and ANGI Homeservices. IAC is known for its creative investments at the nexus of technology and commerce.

The online gaming component of MGM clearly stirred an interest for Diller.

“What initially attracted us to MGM, besides its leadership in leisure hospitality and gaming, was an area that currently comprises a tiny portion of its revenue – online gaming,” said Diller in a statement.

“We believe MGM presented a ‘once in a decade’ opportunity for IAC to own a meaningful piece of a preeminent brand in a large category with great potential to move online,” said the company in a letter to shareholders.

MGM Resorts International said in late July that acting chief executive officer Bill Hornbuckle and longtime company veteran would take the top job permanently. The company reported results last week, saying it had better-than-expected June despite bettings in its Las Vegas properties being down 63 percent year-over-year.

The casino and hotel operator said it is better placed than rivals to having in the past 18 months sold nearly all of its resorts in a sale-leaseback arrangement that has made billions in cash available. IAC is the owner of Vimeo and Angie’s List.