Expedia will spin off its TripAdvisor unit as a publicly trading company, a move which will establish the business as the dominant, independent online travel media company. TripAdvisor is best known for its flagship TripAdvisor travel reviews site, which attracts more than 50 million unique visitors a month, but it has also purchased a collection of other travel sites over the years, including, most recently, mobile travel site EveryTrail and Chinese travel site Kuxun.
The TripAdvisor business generated $486 million in sales in 2010, a figure that grew substantially over the last year (Expedia said its “advertising and media” revenue was up 36 percent year-over-year). However, TripAdvisor represents just a small part of Expedia’s overall business, accounting for less than 15 percent of the company’s sales. The two businesses were spun-off together from IAC (NSDQ: IACI) in August 2005.
Expedia says the TripAdvisor spin-off will likely take place by the third quarter of the year. It expects to distribute stock in the new TripAdvisor company to current Expedia shareholders once they give the deal their okay. They seemed very pleased with that possibility today, sending Expedia’s stock up more than 14 percent in after-hours trading.