Bloomberg News

Diller Tells Expedia Workers He Won't Cede Control

June 25, 2007

Billionaire Barry Diller, the chairman of Expedia Inc. (EXPE:US), said he won't transfer control of the Internet travel agency to John Malone's Liberty (L:US) Media Corp.

In a letter to employees sent June 22, Diller said he didn't want staff to ``worry that the company is being tossed around between me and Liberty as a pawn on a chessboard. It is not.''

Expedia said last week that it would spend as much as $3.5 billion to buy back 42 percent of its common stock. Liberty, which has 23 percent of Expedia's common stock, will keep its shares, Expedia said.

Shares of Expedia, based in Bellevue, Washington, rose 22 cents to $29.22 at 4:30 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The stock jumped 14 percent the day the buyback was announced and has almost doubled in the past 12 months.

Liberty holds all of Expedia's Class B stock, giving it 56 percent of the company's shareholder votes. Liberty granted Diller, who is also chief executive officer of Internet and media company IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI:US), the right to vote all Liberty's shares as long as he is with Expedia.

Malone is Liberty's chairman.

IAC spun off Expedia in 2005, three years after IAC predecessor USA Networks Inc. bought most of Expedia from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) Microsoft took the company public in 1999.

To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Staley in New York at ostaley@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Nol at mnol@bloomberg.net.


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Companies Mentioned

  • EXPE
    (Expedia Inc)
    • $79.73 USD
    • 0.41
    • 0.51%
  • L
    (Loews Corp)
    • $43.61 USD
    • -0.11
    • -0.25%
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