This article was originally published on Forbes.com
Like many of his finance leader peers, Glenn Schiffman, CFO of Internet holding company IAC, views the week that precedes quarterly earnings announcements as sacrosanct.
“Because you have the backdrop of earnings, everyone takes your call and is ready within 10 seconds to produce analysis for you,” says Schiffman, while describing the quarterly outreach to finance team members on which he relies to keep tabs on IAC’s business mix, which is currently made up of 150 different brands and products.
Of course, members of the IAC finance team these days perhaps have more reason than ever to quickly accept Schiffman’s calls in light of the recent flurry of deal-making activity around IAC’s businesses and the anticipation of yet another spinoff from the Internet holding company, whose chairman is billionaire Barry Diller.
Earlier this month, when IAC announced a capital raise of $150 million for its video platform Vimeo, IAC CEO Joey Levin told press and analysts that IAC was now “contemplating” a “full spin” of the video platform.
If successful, Vimeo would become the 11th publicly listed company spun out from IAC—a development that no doubt makes Schiffman’s routine outreach a space with no small amount of buzz.
Unlike many of his CFO peers, Schiffman is peering down not into a singular finance portal but instead into a wide patchwork of finance functions, each tracking, budgeting, and reporting the financials for a different IAC property.
“You go to where you’re needed and what the businesses’ needs are,” says Schiffman, who characterizes his management approach as wielding a broad set of problem-solving experiences but not necessarily deep industry knowledge.
“When IAC got into the travel business years ago, we didn’t understand the travel business, and when we got into the home services market, we didn’t understand that, and that goes for the dating business as well,” explains Schiffman, who says that when it comes to quarterly earnings reports, IAC’s broad menu of businesses requires perhaps a little added preparation.
“What I’m really doing is immersing myself in these businesses pretty intensely during the two weekends before earnings. For me, it’s probably working at the office Saturday and Sunday all day,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Schiffman says that his intense focus on preparation for earnings calls allows him to dig deep and uncover problems or new developments that the numbers may not yet be revealing.
“It’s to prepare for earnings, but more important, it’s to really dive into these businesses and find out what’s going on. And the most important thing about this is that it sets up my priorities for the next couple of months,” says Schiffman.
The possible spinout of Vimeo follows IAC’s full spinout of online dating business Match Group just 5 months ago and the subsequent purchase of a 12 percent stake in gaming, hotel, and resorts giant MGM Resorts International last August for $1 billion.
“We think that we found a once-in-a-decade opportunity to find a meaningful position in an iconic brand,” comments Schiffman, who notes that IAC’s balance sheet remains flush with cash.
“We believe that Las Vegas will come roaring back, and this comes back to how IAC likes to invest: We like massive addressable markets with tailwinds from offline to online, and that’s what we see with gaming,” reports Schiffman, ready to dig deep inside yet another IAC realm. – Jack Sweeney