UPDATE 2-IAC profit misses forecasts as search market slows
* Q4 adjusted profit 18 cents vs estimate 20 cents
* Q4 rev down 7 pct to $351 mln vs estimate $367.4 mln
* Shares up 14 cents in early trading (Adds analyst view, rev details)
NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Barry Diller's Internet media company IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI.O) posted a fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday but missed Wall Street forecasts as fewer Web searches were made on its sites.
The company, which owns search engine Ask.com and dating site Match.com, posted a net profit of $227.4 million, or $1.57 a share, compared with a loss of $369.9 million, or $2.53 a share, in the year-ago period.
Excluding a $1.64-per-share benefit from the sale of its investment in Jupiter Shop Channel and charges from asset writedowns, the company would have earned 18 cents a share.
Analysts had on average expected the company to earn 20 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Revenue fell 7 percent to $351 million. Wall Street had expected revenue to come in at $367.4 million.
"Revenue reflects a significant decline in network revenue, which we believe is due to increased competition from Google with this business line," said JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan in a client note.
The company said revenue declines were mitigated by the July acquisition of Dictionary.com and overall growth in revenue per query due to improved economics of its relationship with Google Inc (GOOG.O), which powers its search marketing platform.
As of Dec. 31, IAC had around $1.9 billion in cash on its balance sheet now accounting for nearly 80 percent of its total market capitalization and just $95.8 million in long-term debt.
Wall Street has become increasingly vocal in calling for Diller to either pay out the cash as a dividend or buy back stock.
"We expect that some investors may be frustrated by a lack of buybacks given the company's around $1.8 billion net cash balance, and thus, we expect investor focus to remain on potential uses of cash, particularly as it relates to timing," said analysts at Goldman Sachs in a client note.
Shares in IAC were up 16 cents to $15.07 in early Nasdaq trading.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Derek Caney)
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