John Malone Pays Barry Diller $300M For Controlling Stake In TripAdvisor

Here’s the latest sign that two of the media business’ most famous frenemies have put their squabbles behind them, at least for now. IAC chief Barry Diller stepped down as chairman and Senior Executive of the web’s top travel site today after John Malone’s Liberty Interactive — which includes the QVC shopping channel — bought 4.8M of his shares at $62.50 a share. Liberty’s mix of Series B shares (which have 10 votes apiece) and Series A ones (one vote apiece) leave Liberty with 57% of the TripAdvisor votes, but just 22% of the equity. The news resulted in a 9% pop in early trading for the company’s shares, which closed yesterday at $38.39. “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,” Diller says. He’ll remain a director of TripAdvisor. Liberty CEO Greg Maffei says that his company’s “increased investment” in the travel site will make it “a strong addition to our portfolio.” Malone helped Diller change himself from Hollywood mogul to e-commerce entrepreneur in 1995 by giving the former head of Fox control of Home Shopping Network. But the relationship hit the skids in 2008; Liberty sued Diller saying that his plan to divide IAC into five separate companies diluted Malone’s investment. They clashed again in 2010 when Malone helped the effort to oust Diller as chairman of Live Nation. An IAC spokesperson says that the two executives “have a very friendly relationship and have only had one major dispute in 20 years related to the IAC spinoff, and that was settled in court.”

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