“You’ve got to bail everyone out,” says Expedia and IAC Chairman Barry Diller. “This is like when you’re picking losers and winners. Everybody is in the same position which is the world stopped for commerce. You see this when you drive down streets and you see big cities and small cities and you see nothing is open. They’re ghost towns. The damage that is being done every day is enormous. Everybody needs to be bailed out of this one-time thing and we’ll worry about paying the bills later.”
Barry Diller, media mogul and Chairman of IAC and Expedia, says that every business in the United States must be bailed out in an interview on CNBC:
You’ve Got To Bail Everyone Out
What we’re doing at Expedia is using the time to do a lot of the things that we were not able to do when we were running a hundred miles an hour to keep up with our growth. You can think of it as a small business writ large. And then one day the door closes. And if you’ve got a small business with nobody coming in you have no revenue. Well, travel-related companies have no revenue. Expedia, like many large travel companies, has a very very large cost base so we haven’t yet dealt with that specifically. The real planning inside the company is to come out of this stronger than when we went into it.
The bailouts of the airlines are necessary. Full stop. You’ve got to bail everyone out. This is like when you’re picking losers and winners. Everybody is in the same position which is the world stopped for commerce. You see this when you drive down streets and you see big cities and small cities and you see nothing is open. They’re ghost towns. The damage that is being done every day is enormous. Everybody needs to be bailed out of this one-time thing and we’ll worry about paying the bills later.
What has to happen is the fear has to decline
What has to happen is the fear has to decline. The fear of associating with other people. There are plenty of friends of mine who say I’m not going to go to the theater or I’m not going to do this because I’m afraid. Actually, now people are saying, even though you’ve been isolating for three weeks you can’t come over to my house, which is kind of nuts. Fear is the next thing that’s going to thaw. Until that happens, whether you test people on the way in or whatever you do, at some point everybody’s going to have to be comfortable being a foot away from other people. If that fundamentally changes then a huge amount of our infrastructure disappears, which I don’t think will happen.
You kind of have to get over it (the fear). You go into a theater and you’re sitting literally within inches of people, you go in thinking that no one is going come in with enormous toxicity. No one is going to come in who has got some terrible communicable disease and sneeze on you. You kind of just trust in that. We’re all too frightened right now. We’re gonna have to get over it or everything will change.
One Way Or the Other This Is Going To Be Over or We’re Over
When we see the damage that is being done everywhere we’ll really see in the second quarter (what’s happening). How can you get fair value? I absolutely believe that in a year or two from now this will be over. One way or the other this is going to be over or we’re over. But how can you value that today? I don’t think you can do it?
II think the streaming will be impacted by (the crisis) also. You go a few more months and while people say (that Netflix) and other subscriptions to entertainment) will be the last things they’ll cut because people feel they desperately need it to just get through the day but that is eventually going to take its toll. People truly will not have the discretionary income to afford it.
Cornoavirus Doesn’t Change the Dynamics of Anything
But it doesn’t change the dynamics of anything. You’ve got the competitors. Streaming has taken over the world. Hollywood is irrelevant. The only companies that have a true path, an absolute clear business model path forward, have nothing to do with the entertainment business. Amazon and Netflix. Everybody else, good luck to them. They may be able to build subscription services that may be profitable but that world has changed forever. I think this pandemic has nothing to do with it other than earnings that are going to be much less for a while.
Of course, there are opportunities (to invest in) you just have to have a very long view or sure-footed look at things as not only they are but as you think they will be. We’re looking at some very large potential acquisitions for IAC. This is the environment where if you are acquisitive you’re going to do the thing that for many years everybody’s asked for. Oh my God, everything’s over-inflated and prices are crazy. You can’t buy things for this or that without these new premiums. Well, you know what, that’s all gone. If you’ve got capital what could be a better time than to exploit what is a terrible downfall for many companies.