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Barry Diller Has an Aereo Hangover

IAC bet early -- and prominently -- on the Web TV company. Now it is taking a loss on its investment.

Asa Mathat for Re/code
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Aereo, the embattled Web TV startup, says it hasn’t thrown in the towel in the wake of its Supreme Court defeat.

But the company’s primary backer seems less convinced. IAC, which bet on Aereo early, has written down at least a portion of its investment in the startup.

Barry Diller’s Web conglomerate says it took a $66.6 million charge for “write-downs of certain investments,” including Aereo, which has raised around $100 million to date.

IAC didn’t spell out out how much of its write-down was attributed to Aereo, but during the company’s earnings call, CFO Jeff Kip said the charge was for investments in five companies, and that Aereo represented the largest write-down in that group.

All of that syncs with Diller’s comments in June, when the Supreme Court handed down its 6-3 decision against Aereo. Immediately following the ruling, Diller appeared to walk away from the company, announcing that it wouldn’t be “a big [financial] loss for us.”

Earlier this month, Aereo disclosed that it had fewer than 80,000 subscribers at the end of 2013. The company has “paused” its operations following the Supreme Court decision and is still awaiting a ruling from a federal judge on its status.

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