Diller: Twitter, Groupon valuations are 'insane'

poppy_barry_diller.top.jpgCNNMoney anchor Poppy Harlow interviews media mogul Barry Diller at South by Southwest. By Stacy Cowley, tech editor


AUSTIN, Texas -- Groupon and Twitter aren't worth billions.

That's what IAC founder and chairman Barry Diller told a packed audience Monday morning at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference. Those kinds of valuations "are mathematically insane," Diller said in an interview with CNNMoney anchor Poppy Harlow. "If there's a willing dumb buyer, that's OK. And some of them -- a very few of them -- won't turn out to be dumb."

The bubble question is much-buzzed-about at SXSW, which is a a magnet for digital movers and shakers. Some of its past breakout stars -- like Twitter -- have drawn funding rounds or acquisitions offers that give them eye-popping valuations. Asked if there's a new bubble forming, Diller answered: "Well, we're puffing it up pretty nicely."

Investing in Internet companies doesn't attract him, Diller said -- but creating them does.

"What interests me is starting businesses on our own, finding ideas that we can support, and simply investing in invention," he said.

Diller has sunk millions into building The Daily Beast, whose recent merger with the ailing Newsweek is a high-wire act in blending online and print media.

"I don't know if this experiment to fuse these two things together is going to work," Diller said. "We'll see in six or eight months." Reader interest will determine the experiment's outcome, he added.

Some experiments don't impress Diller. On Rupert Murdoch's closely watched iPad-only publication, The Daily, he said he finds the product itself interesting but doesn't see closed ecosystems like Apple's surviving in the long term.

"Until that gadget gets surpassed with others -- which will happen, though it doesn't mean they'll go away -- that closed system will work," he said. "Eventually, you're not going to have 32 closed systems. It does not make sense. One way or another, over time, these systems have to crack open and everything is ubiquitous on one, on all."

Though Diller did confess he's an iPad devotee, who has already snagged himself an iPad 2.

"People, me included, have a truly emotional thing about this iPad," he said.

Diller's wide-ranging comments touched on a variety of media issues, but he saved his most impassioned remarks to call for Net neutrality laws -- a cause he has long championed.

In front of a friendly audience of developers and online creators, Diller drew cheers and applause with his line: "We need an unambiguous rule -- a law -- that nobody will step between the publisher and the consumer, full stop." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,730.11 -27.80 -0.16%
Nasdaq 5,009.21 -3.91 -0.08%
S&P 500 2,076.78 -0.64 -0.03%
Treasuries 2.39 -0.02 -1.03%
Data as of 3:54pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.03 0.00 0.00%
Apple Inc 126.44 0.00 0.00%
Intel Corp 30.56 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 19.07 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.78 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Jul 2
Sponsors

Sections

Greeks have voted by a big margin against Europe's latest bailout offer, setting the country on an uncertain path that could mean it has to leave the euro. More

Entrepreneur Guillaume Gauthereau is on a mission to build a 50 to a 100 acre sanctuary in New York to provide refuge to honey bees. More

The most expensive schools in the nation are charging close to $50,000 a year in tuition and fees alone. More