Liberty Interactive Corp. (formerly Liberty Media Corp.) stands by your right to shop at home and online. The company is focused on video and e-commerce through its QVC home-shopping subsidiary and numerous online retail businesses. They include online costume and party supply provider Celebrate Interactive (dba Celebrate Express), Backcountry.com, Bodybuilding.com, the online invitation site Evite, and Internet travel service Expedia, among other activities. Liberty Interactive Corp. was formed in 2011 when its predecessor restructured by merging and splitting off its Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz businesses under a newly-formed holding company, also called Liberty Media.
Change in Company Type
In September 2011 Liberty Media Corp. changed its name to Liberty Interactive Corp. following the split-off of its Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz tracking stocks.
Liberty Interactive operates through its subsidiaries: QVC, Backcountry.com, Bodybuilding.com, and Celebrate Interactive Holdings, as well as its equity affiliate online travel firm Expedia and others. QVC is its parent company's cash cow, accounting for 77% of its total sales in 2013. QVC broadcasts live televised shopping programs and sells merchandise online in the US and abroad.
E-commerce accounts for the balance of Liberty's sales. Companies under Liberty's online retail umbrella include outdoor gear e-tailer Backcountry.com; sports, fitness and supplements seller Bodybuilding.com; and Celebrate Holdings, operator of online costume seller BuyCostumes.com and online party goods seller Celebrate Express.
Liberty Interactive rings up about 70% of its sales in the US. Overseas, Japan and Germany each account for about 10% of the company's total sales. QVC has shopping channels in Germany, Japan, Italy, and the UK. The company also has a newly-formed joint venture in China.
Liberty Interactive's sales increased 12% in 2013 versus 2012 to $11.2 billion, an all-time high for the company, due to strong results for TripAdvisor, QVC, and the company's e-commerce efforts. However, higher expenses and an absence of gains made in 2012 lead to a $1 billion drop in net income; it fell to $501 million. Cash from operations also fell, by $72 million or about 5%, based on the lower net income.
To grow, Liberty Interactive is focused on expanding QVC internationally (to China and Italy) and acquiring additional e-commerce businesses that complement and add to its holdings. To that end, in July 2012 QVC entered into a joint venture in China, taking a 49% interest in CNR Home Shopping, a distributor of live and recorded programming there. Closer to home, in 2012 parent company Liberty Media exchanged its 55% voting interest in Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp for all the capital stock of a wholly-owned subsidiary of IAC that holds the Evite and Gifts.com businesses and combined them with its BuySeasons business to form Celebrate Interactive Holdings (CIH). CIH is an online provider of everything to do with celebrations, from invitations and costumes, to party supplies and gifts.
In 2013 it spun off TripAdvisor the BuySeasons group in a publicly traded company called Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings. The following year it sold Provide Commerce, it's second biggest money maker behind QVC, to floral and gift retailing powerhouse FTD Companies.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In late 2012 Liberty Interactive bought a controlling interest in online travel company TripAdvisor from Diller and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation for $300 million. (Following the transaction, Liberty owns 22% of the equity and 57% of the voting shares of TripAdvisor stock.) TripAdvisor's branded websites include tripadvisor.com in the US, as well as local websites in 29 other countries, including China under the brand daodao.com.