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Diller Refutes Expedia Rumors, Blames Speculators

Expedia Chairman Barry Diller dismissed newly resurfaced rumors that the online travel site would be taken private and blamed speculators for trying to make a quick buck.

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Asked by a reporter whether to believe rumors that he wanted to take the company private, Diller replied: "I wouldn't."

"I am so suspect of current markets and the hedge funds and momentum selling/buying," Diller said. "I think there is a plot behind everything."

He was speaking on the sidelines of the D: All Things Digital conference, an annual gathering of the high-tech industry elite taking place near San Diego.

Shares of Expedia jumped as much as 9.5 percent to $23.81 in trading on Nasdaq earlier in the day. Option traders and analysts said leveraged buyout talk involving Diller, who is also chairman and chief executive of former Expedia parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp, has sparked heavy interest in Expedia's upside calls.

"There is speculation that Barry Diller is interested in taking Expedia private," said William Lefkowitz, options strategist at brokerage firm vFinance Investments in New York.

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