IAC's (IACI) big Chinese adventure (conf call quotes)

Includes: CTRP, IAC, LONG
by: Ezra Marbach

On December 21, 2004, IAC (ticker: IACI), an e-commerce company, announced it would split into two companies - one called Expedia, devoted solely to travel services. Here are key quotes from CEO Barry Diller, and EVP, Dara Khosrowshahi, about IAC's Chinese online travel company, eLong (ticker: LONG), and the potential of the Chinese market, from IAC's conference call:

Barry Diller - InterActiveCorp - Chairman and CEO

....eLong very definitely goes into Expedia. We have just exercised our warrant; invested another $100 million. We have a total of $160 million invested in cash in China -- which by the way, when you list the players in China in cash, that is pretty adventurous.

God knows I can talk about the potential of that market. You hardly need to that from us. But we consider Asia Pacific -- and Dara has spent the last month or so really absolutely saying that a big, big growth area for the Company is to plant its flags everywhere it can in Asia Pacific.

Dara Khosrowshahi - InterActiveCorp - EVP and CFO, CEO IAC Travel

....the market there, the online penetration in Asia Pacific is just 1.5 percent of online travel. We think that we will see exactly the same kind of patterns in Asia Pacific that we have seen in the U.S. and are seeing in Europe is well.

So China obviously is a market with theoretically the largest potential there.

We are very confident that Barney Harford and Justin Tang (CEO of eLong) in China can recreate that success and set up the potential for very significant growth 3, 4, 5 years from now.

(Quotes are from the CCBN StreetEvents transcript.)