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Billionaire Barry Diller says there is great speculation in the stock market


Billionaire businessmen Barry Diller has urged everyone to hoard cash, saying there is ‘great speculation’ in the stock market right now, as he calls TikTok‘s recent deal to partner with Oracle and Walmart ‘a crock.’

‘Personally, and professionally, every nickel you can, keep it in whatever bank, wherever it’s banked,’ said Diller, the chairman of IAC and Expedia Group, in an interview on Tuesday with CNBC‘s Squawk Box.

‘Generally, I think for any speculation, and I think the market right now is a great speculation, I would stay home,’ Diller said.

Stock indexes on Tuesday halted a four-day losing streak, driven by fears of a new round of lockdowns in Europe and the deadlock in Congress over the size and shape of another coronavirus stimulus bill.

Billionaire businessmen Barry Diller (right) has urged everyone to hoard cash, saying there is ‘great speculation’ in the stock market right now

The S&P 500 is seen so far this year. Though it has recovered from March lows, Diller warns that speculation may be driving markets to unsustainable levels

Though the main indexes have recovered their losses since the steep sell-off in March, Diller argued that the recovery might have been driven in part by a speculative frenzy.

He warned that as the November presidential election approaches, investor uncertainty will only increase, potentially driving volatility in markets.

‘Each day from now until November is going to get more and more concerning, and more and more decisive, and more and more difficult,’ said Diller, a longtime Democrat donor. 

‘I actually think if I could wake up in mid-November, maybe it’s even late November given what might be contested, I would rub that magic genie,’ he added.

Diller, who supports Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, predicted that if Biden wins the election, there would be an initial ‘downdraft’ in markets in expectation of higher taxes and increased regulation, but believes that in the long run a Biden presidency wouldn’t materially impact the business environment.

Diller is the chairman of Expedia Group and IAC, which owns a portfolio of digital properties

‘As far as business is concerned, I don’t think long term there’s going to be any particular difference’ between Trump and Biden, said Diller. ‘I think there will be differences personally. I think people are going to pay higher taxes, particularly the wealthy. I think there are going to be things that are going to be done, really done, to deal with inequality.’

Despite his warning to stay in cash, Diller’s IAC, which owns a portfolio of digital media properties, in August announced a roughly $1 billion investment to acquire a 12 percent stake in MGM Resorts International, a casino and resorts titan that was hard-hit by the pandemic. 

‘Because of this moment, for bad reasons, we got the ability to invest in something like that,’ Diller said. ‘But generally, I think for any speculation, and I think the market right now is a great speculation, I would stay home.’

Diller spoke out to blast another recent blockbuster deal, in which Oracle and Walmart partnered to acquire 20 percent of a new U.S.-based entity to run video sharing app TikTok, after President Donald Trump ordered Chinese parent ByteDance to divest over national security concerns.

Diller called the recent deal to bring ownership of TikTok under the purview of a U.S.-based entity ‘a crock’, arguing it does not address the original concerns that spurred the deal

Though the details of the deal have yet to be clarified, it’s unclear whether the deal amounts to a full divestment by ByteDance as Trump had originally demanded.

‘The whole thing is a crock,’ Diller said, arguing that the deal impedes free commerce without even addressing the original concerns that spurred it.

‘It started obviously simply — to say we want to protect the security of Americans from anything that could happen to them by using TikTok,’ said Diller. 

‘It has now morphed into a ludicrous game-match between tossing ownership here, control there. … Its original aims are out the window. It has just come a whole political mismash,’ he added.

Diller said the deal also raises concerns about Chinese retaliation. 

‘Once you start tossing this grenade about protectionism and once you start turning these things into political questions, … it’s inevitable that race just keeps going up and up and prevents natural commerce,’ Diller said. 

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