In what appeared to some analysts as a surprise putsch, Liberty Media's John Malone took steps Monday to oust Barry Diller from IAC/InterActive Corp., the company that Diller founded, and whose holdings include the Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster, Citysearch, Hotels.com, Ask.com, Match.com, and LendingTree.com. The action was apparently triggered by IAC's recently announced plan to spin off several of those businesses into new public companies under terms that would undermine Liberty's ability to control them. In a filing with Delaware Chancery Court, Liberty Media said that a "stockholder consent" that it sent to IAC removed Diller and others from the board and named new directors, including Liberty CEO Gregory Maffei, to replace them. The filing cited "misconduct" on Diller's part and criticized his compensation package. (He is regarded as the country's best-paid CEO.) Diller minced no words in responding to Liberty's action. "I am beginning to think these people are insane," he said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. "Everything they cite is hogwash."