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 e-tailer Provide Commerce, 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 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 operates through its subsidiaries: QVC, Inc., Provide Commerce; Backcountry.com, Inc.; Bodybuilding.com, Inc.; 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 85% of its total sales in 2012. 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: Provide Commerce (acquired in 2006), which sells and delivers flowers, its most significant product, as well as fresh fruits and confections and gifts; 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's sales increased 5% in 2012 versus 2011 to $10 billion, an all-time high for the company. Net income increased 68% to more than $1.5 billion over the same period. Liberty's sales and profits have been on the rise in recent years, driven by strong performance of its e-commerce properties. (The purchase of TripAdvisor in late 2012 also helped boost sales somewhat.) QVC's sales increased 3% in 2012 versus 2011, while its other e-commerce businesses posted an 11% increase in sales. Investments in marketing efforts to drive traffic to its online sites, greater conversion from site optimization, broader inventory, and a lift in sales from discounting of seasonal inventory, were credited with driving sales growth in 2012. Sales rose in the US and Japan but fell in Germany.
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) in late 2010. CIH is an online provider of everything to do with celebrations, from invitations and costumes, to party supplies and gifts.
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 owned 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.
Chairman John Malone owns about 94% of Liberty Interactive Corp's. outstanding shares and controls about 35% of the voting power.