TripAdvisor will report earnings on February 14. Will its numbers be a valentine to investors? If not, perhaps the company should break up its relationship with the public markets. A move to private ownership could let it retool without fretting about quarterly targets.
TripAdvisor Inc. added more than a half-billion dollars to its market capitalization over the past two days as the broader market shed $1.25 trillion, after the online travel company appointed famed venture capitalist Jay Hoag, co-founder of Technology Crossover Ventures, to its board.
Late Friday, Technology Crossover Ventures reported indirect ownership of 2.3 million shares in the firm as of Jan. 31, making it a top 20 holder. The appointment of Hoag, a long-serving board member at Netflix Inc., comes amid takeover speculation involving the firm.
In late November, Cowen analyst Kevin Kopelman wrote that he saw a 50 percent chance of a takeover in the near-term at $50 a share, likely by Priceline Group Inc. or Expedia Inc., where Hoag also was a board member.
And last March, Chairman Greg Maffei said the business may be attractive to buyers, possibly inviting companies to take a closer look.
Naturally all M&A roads would run through John Malone, whose Liberty Interactive owns 57% of the voting power of TripAdvisor. A spokeswoman for Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings Inc. declined to comment on the share move.
TripAdvisor is scheduled to report earnings on Feb. 14.
TripAdvisor may have signaled merger readiness with severance package changes about eight months ago. As noted before, TripAdvisor is a smart acquisition for someone right now.
–With assistance from Meghan Genovese
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Photo Credit: Jay Hoag co-founded venture firm Technology Crossover Ventures in 1995 and has since invested in Expedia, Airbnb, and other companies. His joining the board of TripAdvisor coincided with a sharp stock price surge in the public company. Technology Crossover Ventures
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