Expedia is a popular online travel website widely used to book just about everything a traveler requires: flight, hotel, rental car, etc. Whether a person is embarking on a cruise or a land-lubbing adventure, chances are they visited Expedia’s website to do some price comparisons. But who really owns Expedia ?
Based in the United States with headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, it is listed on the NASDAQ as a publicly traded entity. However, it is not really a stand-alone company. Expedia began as a division of Microsoft, founded almost 20 years ago. It is interesting to discover that competitor travel websites like Trivago, Hotwire.com, Orbitz and Travelocity, just to name a few, are not really competitors after all. They are all products of Microsoft as well. Although originally a division of Microsoft, Ticketmaster acquired the Expedia brand in 2001. That acquisition became the catalyst for Expedia to become a force to be reckoned with among all travel brands:
- 2003, Ticketmaster became InterActiveCorp (IAC).
- 2005, IAC included under Expedia’s umbrella: Classic Vacations, Expedia Corporate Travel, which is now known as Egencia, eLong, Hotels.com,Hotwire.com, and TripAdvisor.
- 2012, Expedia purchased a majority stake in Trivago, expanding into the European travel market.
- 2014, Expedia expanded its holdings to include Wotif’s online travel websites in Australia.
- January, 2015 Expedia completed the acquisition of Travelocity from Sabre Corporation, which now added Canada to the brand’s U.S., European and Australia travel platforms.
- September, 2015 Expedia completed acquisition of Orbitz.
So, although the original question was, “Who owns Expedia?”, an examination of the evidence begs the questions, “Who isn’t owned by Expedia?” But even after following the acquisition trail that Expedia has blazed for almost a decade, ownership of Expedia can be traced back to IAC. So then the question becomes, “Who owns IAC?”
IAC is a publicly traded American company based in New York City with Joey Levin at the helm as Chief Executive Officer. Originally a broadcasting company with its primary stake in the Home Shopping Network (HSN), the company has gone through a series of transformations:
- 1986, IAC is established as Silver King Broadcasting Company.
- 1988, with more than 11 television stations, it was later renamed HSN Communications, Inc. then renamed again as Silver King Communications, Inc.
- 1995, acquired by Barry Diller, who led the creation of the Fox Network, with hopes of rebranding the Silver King broadcast network.
- 1996, the company is renamed HSN, Inc. and Savoy Pictures, a studio owning four Fox affiliates, is purchased.
- 1997, a controlling stake in Ticketmaster Group is acquired.
- 1998, complete acquisition of Ticketmaster Group.
- 1998, Universal Studios is purchased along with a name change to USA Networks, Inc.
- 1998, USA Networks merges Ticketmaster with website CitySearch.
- 2003, USA Networks purchases all outstanding shares of Ticketmaster, thus achieving full ownership.
- 2001, USA Networks acquires Expedia.
- 2002, USA Networks changes its name to USA Interactive to reflect its shift from media focus to online assets.
- 2003, USA Interactive changes its name to InterActiveCorp.
- 2004, InterActiveCorp changes its name to IAC/InterActiveCorp.
IAC has aggressively grown its portfolio of online travel sites to include markets all over the globe, adding France to its existing U.S., European, Australian, and Canadian assets. It has its fingers in virtually every type of online pie: Lending Tree, Gifts.com, Shoebuy.com, Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, HomeAdvisor, as well as several online dating sites. Anyone who visits a popular website may very well be engaging with an IAC brand.
But what happened to Expedia along the way? As of 2007, Microsoft announced that it owned less than 5% of Expedia stock. The current largest shareholder in Expedia is Vanguard Group, Inc. Second in position of power in shareholding of Vanguard is Microsoft, Corporation. So, after remaining hot on a very convoluted trail of asset acquisitions, name changes and investment conglomeration, despite the fact that Microsoft sold Expedia nearly 20 years ago, two decades later Microsoft still maintains a commanding hand on Expedia’s wheel.