Tripadvisor in Play: Forms Committee to Consider Sale

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Skift Take

In theory, Tripadvisor going private might give the reviews site the space to regain its balance outside the glare of quarterly reports.

Tripadvisor said Monday it was reviewing a potential sale of the company to Liberty Tripadvisor, which has long held a minority ownership interest in the travel reviews site.

Tripadvisor said it had formed a special committee of independent directors of its board “to evaluate any proposals that may be brought forward for a potential transaction” in response to a “recent Liberty TripAdvisor Holding disclosure of its intent to evaluate potential alternatives involving LTRP and Tripadvisor.” 

Analysts at Bernstein, led by Richard Clarke, wrote in a flash report: “No terms have been disclosed as to the potential purchase price nor is it clear how Liberty intends to finance the transaction at this stage.”

Liberty Tripadvisor currently owns 21% of Tripadvisor common stock but — along with significant shareholder and president and CEO of Liberty Media, Greg Maffei — it effectively has a majority voting interest.

Another key voice who will affect the impact of a potential deal is Greg O’Hara, the founder and senior managing director of Certares. In 2020, Certares made a $325 million investment in Liberty Tripadvisor, and soon after joined the Liberty TripAdvisor board. 

Liberty Tripadvisor has $2.75 billion in debt. Clarke and the team at Bernstein speculate that Liberty Tripadvisor would use some of the money at Tripadvisor to help repay this debt.

More may be revealed soon. The Tripadvisor earnings call is on February 15, and the Liberty Tripadvisor earnings call is on February 16. 

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