Liberty's Malone takes control, streamlines holdings

John Malone continues to streamline his holdings as Liberty Interactive has acquired a chunk of TripAdvisor it didn’t own from Barry Diller.

Liberty spend $300 million to buy about 4.8 million shares for $62.50 a share and took voting control. Diller, head of IAC/Interactive, resigned as chairman of the board but will remain a director of one of the world’s biggest travel sites.

Move comes as sister company Liberty Media is moving to take control of Sirius XM Satellite Radio and split off Starz Entertainment into a separate public company.

Liberty Interactive said its TripAdvisor stake would be housed in its Liberty Ventures tracking stock.

Liberty Interactive is focused on digital commerce including Backcountry.com, Bodybuilding.com, Evite, QVC and interests in HSN and Lockerz. Liberty Ventures holds non-consolidated assets like interests in AOL, Expedia, Interval Leisure Group, Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, Lending Tree and some green energy investments.

Diller acquired TripAdvisor in 2004. It’s grown “from a startup with $23 million in annual revenues to a $5 billion plus public company,” he said. “My only reason for resigning as chairman and disposing of my interests is that I have more obligations than time, and transferring control of TripAdvisor to Liberty is something I’m very comfortable with — Liberty has proven itself a fine steward and leader of its controlled businesses.”

Liberty CEO Greg Maffei said the company is “pleased to take voting control of our long-standing stake in TripAdvisor.”

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