Barry Diller's Carpet

We don't resent the IAC billionaire's lavish lifestyle. If Diller wants to spend $200m on the world's largest sailing vessel, the 300-foot-long Eos, that's his business. "Once you're in boats, you either go bankrupt or you keep going," Diller told Lloyd Grove.The rumored $200,000 spent on silverware alone? Diller is 65 years old, and has worked hard all his life; he likes to entertain; so no judgment. But the tycoon's biggest backer, John Malone's Liberty Media, may not look so forgivingly on the expense of IAC's fancy headquarters. The Gehry-designed building on the Hudson waterfront of Manhattan, easily accessed by yacht, was quoted at a surprisingly modest $100m. But that was before decoration. We hear the fancy Italian carpeting of the IAC boss' office suite may have cost up to $1m. And I doubt Diller paid that out of his own pocket. IAC peons, or agents of Malone: what's the story? (After the jump, Diller explains his passion for big yachts: "It's not about size.")

L.G. But you're purported to own the largest sailing vessel in the world now [the 300-foot-long Eos, for which Diller paid an estimated $200 million to build last year]. What's that about? I mean, people have all kinds of theories on why rich guys buy big yachts.



B.D. I promise you, it's not about size, it really isn't. I mean, it's not for me. I've had sailboats, and when I started to think about building a boat, I wanted to have a boat that had really good sailing characteristics and at the same time I wanted a boat that could hold my family and friends and be as comfortable as I could conceive it. And when we put those things together, it just dictated the length of the boat. It wasn't backwards, like I said "I want the biggest boat." It's inconceivable that I'd say that. And I'm sure that at some point fairly soon I won't have the biggest boat.



L.G: [Laughs] That's for sure!



B.D.: But I wanted a three-masted schooner. By definition it had three sticks in the air, it's going to be a little large, because that was the kind of sailing craft I wanted. It's not huge, Eos, and as a matter of fact one of the great things about it is its profile is not imposing, certainly not from some big white refrigerator. [Laughs] Big motor boats are usually white, and they're big, they're very imposing. That's not bad, but that's not my sailboat.



L.G.: If you like big white refrigerators!



B.D.: Whatever. Some of them are beautiful. But, you know, in this thing of boats, it's like planes. There's no justification for this, it's just I'm lucky enough that I got to build something that I had more fun than anyone deserves in building it, and now I'm having even more so in me and my family enjoying it.



L.G: Is that it for you, you think, in terms of being happy with this one for a while?



B.D.: No. I'm sure I'll get hungry for doing another boat as well at some point, another stripe of another kind. Once you're in boats, you either go bankrupt or you keep going.



[From Lloyd Grove's interview with the IAC boss]