Malone's Liberty Interactive gets TripAdvisor control
(Reuters) - John Malone's Liberty Interactive Corp (LINTA.O) took control of travel information website TripAdvisor Inc (TRIP.O) from veteran media mogul Barry Diller.
Liberty disclosed on Tuesday it bought about five million shares of common stock of TripAdvisor from Diller and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation at a price of $62.50 per share or about $312 million.
The deal represents a significant "control premium," said James Dobson, an analyst with the Benchmark Co.
Shares of TripAdvisor were up 7.8 percent at $41.39 in midday trade. Liberty shares fell 1.15 percent to $18.92.
"I think it's clearly a positive for the travel space, particularly though for content-heavy media travel providers," said Dobson.
Diller, who is also chairman of IAC/InterActive Corp (IACI.O), will step down as TripAdvisor chairman, but will continue as a director. IAC shares rose 2.5 percent.
"My only reason for resigning as chairman and disposing of my interests is that I have more obligations than time," Diller said in a statement. He has controlled the majority of voting rights in TripAdvisor through shares he owned and those granted in proxy by Liberty.
The existing agreement between Diller and Malone meant that if Diller left TripAdvisor, the proxy would terminate and Liberty could control the voting power of TripAdvisor's stock.
The transaction gives Liberty control of about 22 percent of TripAdvisor's common stock and 57 percent of its voting stock.
Founded more than a decade ago, TripAdvisor is an online travel site that offers advice, booking and planning tools to consumers. It has more than 60 million unique monthly visitors and over 75 million reviews and opinions, according to its website.
TripAdvisor was spun off from Expedia Inc (EXPE.O) last year.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York and Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Nick Zieminski, G Crosse)
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