Expedia plans to buy out Liberty Expedia, a holding company that controls millions of shares in the online travel giant, in a move that is meant to simplify the company’s ownership structure.
The deal leaves Expedia chairman Barry Diller with 29 percent of the combined companies’ voting power. As part of the deal, Expedia is buying out the “super-voting” shares of billionaire media mogul John Malone and all Liberty board nominees will step down when the acquisition closes later this year.
“This road, frequently travelled since 1994, between me, John Malone, and Liberty Media, has produced much success, none of which could have been possible without Dr. Malone’s encouragement and support,” Diller said in a statement. “While the formal partnership ends with this transaction, my gratitude to John and Liberty will never end for giving me the opportunity to begin the journey.”
Malone has been involved with Expedia since the 1990s. He is also the chairman of Qurate Retail Group, the parent company of Seattle-based Zulily and shopping network QVC.
Expedia has gone through a number of ownership changes over the years. Diller has been chairman of Expedia since 2005, when the company spun out of Diller’s internet conglomerate IAC. Expedia spun out of Microsoft as a public company in 1999, and IAC acquired it four years later.
Expedia stock was up 1.7 percent Tuesday.
Bloomberg reported that the deal will not only simplify the company’s ownership, it will give Expedia’s valuation a boost.
“This transaction marks an important milestone in the evolution of Expedia Group,” Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom said in a statement. “It represents a strong benefit to our shareholders – simplifying and improving our corporate and governance structure and effecting a meaningful reduction in our share count. We thank Liberty for their great partnership over the years.”