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Liberty Interactive Acquires Majority Stake In TripAdvisor For $300 Million

Online travel reviews and recommendation site TripAdvisor has inked a deal with Liberty Interactive Corporation to offload a majority stake in its company for $300 million and provide voting control to Liberty Interactive.

Transaction Details

As per the deal, TripAdvisor stated that Liberty Interactive has purchased around 4.8 million shares (4,799,848 shares) of common stock from TripAdvisor’s chairman Barry Diller at a price of $62.50 per share. Following this transaction, Liberty Interactive now owns around 18.16 million shares (18,159,752 shares) of common stock and 12.8 million shares (12,799,999) shares of Class B common stock of TripAdvisor, which accounts to 22% of the company’s equity and 57% of the total votes of all classes of TripAdvisor common stock.

TripAdvisor also stated that Diller has resigned from his position as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and as Senior Executive of TripAdvisor but will continue as Board director. The company is yet to announce a new Chairman of the Board.

Liberty Interactive Properties

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Liberty Interactive Corporation currently operates various digital commerce business through two different stock groups – Liberty Interactive Group and Liberty Ventures Group. According to the company website, Liberty Interactive Group manages the company’s digital commerce subsidiaries which include Backcountry.com, Bodybuilding.com, Celebrate Interactive (which includes Evite, Gifts.com and Liberty Advertising), CommerceHub, MotoSport, Provide Commerce, QVC and Right Start. It also manages the company’s interests in the online shopping portal HSN and the social commerce network Lockerz.

On the other hand, Liberty Ventures Group manages the company’s business interests in AOL, Expedia, Interval Leisure Group, Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, Tree.com (Lending Tree) and various green energy investments.

TripAdvisor Spin-off

In April 2011, Expedia had announced its intentions to spin-off TripAdvisor, as a public company and few months later, TripAdvisor spun off from Expedia as a public company and debuted on the NASDAQ in December 2011. The company had posted (pdf) a net income of $59 million and a total revenue of $212.7 million for the third quarter ended September 30, 2012.

TripAdvisor currently operates in 30 different countries including India and claims to have over 75 million reviews and opinions and register 60 million unique monthly visitors as of July 2012. It also manages 19 other travel media brands like Airfarewatchdog, BookingBuddy, Cruise Critic, EveryTrail, Family Vacation Critic, Flipkey, Holiday Lettings, Holiday Watchdog, Independent Traveller, OneTime, SeatGuru, SniqueAway, SmarterTravel, Tingo, TravelLibrary, TravelPod, VirtualTourist, Where I’ve Been, and Kuxun.cn which generate a combined 74 million unique monthly visitors, as per the company claims.

In April 2011, TripAdvisor had officially extended its Business Listings service to Indian restaurants and property owners after a 10-month pilot, enabling hoteliers to get International exposure across all TripAdvisor-branded sites and encourage more direct bookings. The company claimed that during the pilot program, it had generated over 800,000 leads (clicks and email contact) for Indian hoteliers from domestic traffic alone.

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Prior to this, the company had announced during Mobile World Congress in February 2012, that its mobile apps had surpassed 15 million total downloads across all platforms, languages and devices, which seems to have increased to 26 million downloads (pdf) in September 2012. It had also released a new HTML5 cross-platform tablet app and released an update to its Android app, allowing users to check the nearest hotels, attractions and restaurants to their current location.

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