What does $300 million buy you these days (apart from a minority stake in Virgin Atlantic)? It gets you Barry Diller's shares and voting control of TripAdvisor.
That's what happened today when Liberty Interactive Corporation paid $299 million to purchase a total of 4.8 million shares of common stock in the user review giant from Diller, at a price of $62.50 per share.
Liberty now owns 18 million shares of common stock and almost 13 million shares in Class B common stock in TripAdvisor, giving it around 22% of equity and 57% of total votes across the relevant stocks.
Diller has resigned as chairman and senior executive of TripAdvisor as a result of the transaction, but will remain as a director.
He says the "only reason" for exiting the company is that he has "more obligations than time". Liberty is "a fine steward and leader of its controlled businesses", he adds.
TripAdvisor CEO and co-founder Steve Kaufer says:
"It has been a pleasure to work with Barry [Diller] and we appreciate his outstanding leadership through the years. I thank him for his numerous contributions and look forward to his continued involvement with our Company as a member of our board.
"Liberty has been an important stockholder of ours and we look forward to continuing this relationship in the future."
Greg Maffei, Liberty president and CEO, adds:
"We are pleased to take voting control of our long-standing stake in TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is an established leader in the travel industry and our increased investment in the company is a strong addition to our portfolio."
Liberty is a major player in a number of digital commerce outfits, including shopping network QVC, Right Start, MotoSport and Evite.
TripAdvisor is expected to make an announcement around the appointment of a new chairman of the company following his or her election by the current board of directors.