Expedia Buying Out RenRen To Grab More Of Chinese Travel’s eLong

Expedia is buying Chinese social network Renren out of its stake in global travel site eLong.

Expedia first invested in eLong in 2004 has owned a majority of the site since May, when it bought an eight percent stake for $41.2 million, taking its share to 56 percent.

But eLong’s Nasdaq share price has fallen sharply since a mid-2011 high, and now Expedia is buying Renren’s share for $72.4 million.

Expedia says it sees China as “a key market in our efforts to expand internationally” (via release). eLong lists over 19,000 Chinese hotels and Expedia had already provided eLong with listings for over 145,000 international hotels.

Renren’s CEO Joseph Chen says: “Our early investment in eLong helped us build mutually beneficial commercial ties as well as generate strong returns for our shareholders. Renren and eLong will continue to work on a number of joint initiatives, including Nuomi hotel group-buy.”

Back in May, Tencent had also acquired a 16 percent stake.

Last week, eLong reported Q3 net income up fivefold from last year to RMB9.4 million (US$1.5 million) on 19 percent higher revenue of RMB164.3 million (US$25.8 million).

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