Skeptics Surround IACI/InterActiveCorp (IACI) Amid Angie's List Bid

Short interest on IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) has exploded in recent reporting periods

Nov 12, 2015 at 11:59 AM
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IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) -- which is on the brink of spinning off its Match Group -- is making Angie's List Inc (NASDAQ:ANGI) shareholders very happy today with an unsolicited buyout offer, sending the stock sharply higher. IACI itself has barely budged, though -- last seen down fractionally at $65.22, for a year-to-date gain of 7.3%.

Across Wall Street, pessimism has been on the rise. Starting with the shorts, IACI was among the 50 names that saw the largest increases in short interest during the most recent pay period. Specifically, short interest on the stock soared over 47% during that two-week time frame, and going out to the past two pay periods, these bearish bets have increased roughly 73%. In addition, the 3.7 million shares sold short is the highest total since early February.

Short sellers are hardly the only ones betting against IACI. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity has racked up a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.68, with long puts more than doubling calls. What's more, this reading ranks just 4 percentage points from a 12-month high, suggesting traders have been buying to open bearish bets over bullish at a rapid-fire rate.

Echoing this, IACI's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 0.54. This ratio sits in the 82nd percentile of its annual range, indicating traders targeting options with a shelf-life of three months or less have gravitated toward puts over calls more than usual.

While IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) has outperformed the broader market in 2015, that doesn't mean the collective skepticism is unwarranted. In fact, since hitting an all-time peak of $84.66 in mid-July, the shares have been stair-stepping their way lower, and currently face pressure from their 10-day moving average.

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