Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp (IAC) finalized its $60 million investment of eLong.com this week. IAC acquired warrants, which if exercised, will increase IAC's ownership of eLong to 51%.
eLong has long struggled with its competitors. Until a few years ago, it tried competing with larger web portals like Sohu.com and Sina.com. Then eLong switched to travel and online ticketing, but its Chinese website is still second place to previously better-funded CTrip.com and its English travel website competes with sites like ChinaTravelNow.com and ChinaPulse.com.
This new infusion of cash should level the playing field for eLong and worry its competitors. eLong seems poised for its own public listing as it recently hired Derek Palaschuk as Chief Financial Officer. Palaschuk has good experience in handling growing Internet companies as he previously worked for Sohu.com after it went public.
IAC's investment in eLong will be managed by IAC Travel, which operates the other travel assets of IAC, including Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire and Expedia's private-label business WWTE.