IAC 4Q profit beats expectations

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NEW YORK (AP) — IAC/InterActive Corp. reported strong results from its dating sites Wednesday, led by Match.com and from search engine Ask.com and the website operator easily topped Wall Street expectations, sending shares to a 52-week high in early trading.

Search revenue rose 35 percent and dating-site revenue rose 46 percent in the last three months of 2011, the New York company said. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 70 cents per share, while analysts polled by FactSet had on average expected 56 cents per share.

During the same period last year, IAC/InterActive got a huge boost from the sale of some websites, and compared with that period, net income fell by 44 percent.

Net income was $48.8 million, or 53 cents per share, compared with $87 million, or 90 cents per share, a year earlier.

However, revenue rose spiked percent to $596.9 million, blowing past analyst predictions of $568 million.

IAC said its search revenue, which accounts for more than half of overall revenue, rose 35 percent to $319.5 million. Revenue from dating sites like Match.com and OKCupid climbed 46 percent to $157.7 million.

Shares of IAC/InterActive Corp. rose $2.23 to $45.30. They jumped to $45.99 almost immediately when the market opened.