Renren, a US-listed Chinese language social network, has sold its minority equity stake in Nasdaq-listed travel company ELong for $72.4m. Nasdaq-listed travel reservations provider Expedia bought Renren’s holding for $23 per share. Joseph Chen, executive chairman of Renren, said: “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, one of the largest hotel group-buy sites in China.” In May, China-based media group Tencent and Expedia invested $125.6m in ELong. Expedia took majority ownership of eLong by buying 8% of the portfolio company for $41.2m to own 56%. Tencent, which in turn is backed by South Africa media group Naspers’ corporate venturing unit, invested $84.4m in eLong for a 16% stake. The investment in ELong represents the first significant investment in the travel market by Tencent, which set up a corporate venturing fund in January and been competing with Renren on social networking. ELong planned to form a partnership to develop online travel products and distribute eLong’s 150,000 hotel supply to Tencent’s online community of 674 million active user accounts in China.

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