Priceline Group Inc.

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  • Jun. 30, 2015, 11:47 AM
    • Piper's Michael Olson reports checks for online travel trends through May point to a strong Q2 for the industry.
    • Priceline (PCLN +2.8%), Expedia (EXPE +2%), Travelzoo (TZOO +3%), HomeAway (AWAY +1.6%), and TripAdvisor (TRIP +0.9%) are outperforming to varying degrees amid a 0.5% gain for the Nasdaq. Aside from Expedia, the group has been pressured by a mixture of forex and company-specific concerns. Piper has a neutral rating on Expedia due to valuation concerns, and Overweight ratings on Priceline, TripAdvisor, and HomeAway.
    • Separately, Expedia has named worldwide engineering SVP Aman Bhutani the president of the Brand Expedia Group, which covers, Travelocity, Wotif, and Expedia's JV with AirAsia - CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been handling the job for over 3 years. GeekWire notes Bhutani has a strong reputation within the company for making data-driven tech decisions and experimenting with product changes.
    • Previously: Deutsche downgrades Priceline, cites Airbnb
    • Previously: Macquarie: HomeAway is cheap if Airbnb is worth $24B
    | Jun. 30, 2015, 11:47 AM | 2 Comments
  • Jun. 22, 2015, 11:53 AM
    • Believing Airbnb's rapid growth in the vacation rental segment will take a toll, Deutsche's Lloyd Walmsley has downgraded Priceline (PCLN -0.6%) to Hold, and cut his target by $100 to $1,325. Concurrently, Walmsley has upgraded archrival Expedia to Buy.
    • Walmsley still thinks Priceline has "a strong lead in hotels, superior execution and an under-appreciated strategic play" in its BookingSuite software/site-building platform for hotel owners. However, he adds Deutsche's analysis of Priceline's vacation rental bookings (challenged by Airbnb) indicates the segment accounts for ~30% of its international bookings growth, excluding forex.
    • Bloomberg recently reported Airbnb is projecting 2015 revenue of $900M, up from just $250M in 2013 (though still far below Priceline's 2015 sales consensus of $9.27B). It added Airbnb is in talks to raise funds at an eye-popping $24B valuation.
    • Priceline is off modestly on an up day for equities. Shares are nearly flat YTD.
    | Jun. 22, 2015, 11:53 AM | 4 Comments
  • Jun. 9, 2015, 7:23 AM
    • Lufthansa (OTCPK:DLAKF, OTCQX:DLAKY) is taking the dramatic move to charge passengers an extra fee for booking travel through third-party sites.
    • Though many airlines are reducing the number of flight options they show on travel sites, Lufthansa is one of the first major carriers to charge for booking outside its network.
    • The fee from the German airline for outside bookings will begin in September and average $18 per ticket.
    • The trend could pick up warn some industry watchers.
    • “Consumers are going to go to the price-comparison sites and thinking they’re comparing prices, but they’re not,” said Yale professor Fiona Scott Morton.
    • Related stocks: EXPE, PCLN, OWW, TZOO, TRIP.
    | Jun. 9, 2015, 7:23 AM | 15 Comments
  • Jun. 1, 2015, 10:37 AM
    • Priceline's (PCLN -0.2%) Kayak travel search engine will now include nearly 200K HomeAway (NASDAQ:AWAY) vacation rental listings. The deal is expected to go live by year's end.
    • The companies state travelers will be able to "search and find vacation rentals on KAYAK just as they would a hotel and complete their reservation on the HomeAway site where the property is listed." Kayak currently shows over 700K hotel listings.
    • Priceline hasn't broken out Kayak's sales since acquiring the company in 2013. Priceline did state on its Q4 CC (transcript) Kayak delivered "strong top-line results and bottom-line results significantly [exceeding] our expectations at the time of acquisition" in 2014.
    | Jun. 1, 2015, 10:37 AM
  • May 26, 2015, 7:14 AM
    • Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) announces it will invest another $250M in (NASDAQ:CTRP).
    • The combination of a convertible bond investment and open market share purchases could push up Priceline's ownership stake in Ctrip to as high as 15%.
    • CTRP +5.16% premarket.
    | May 26, 2015, 7:14 AM
  • May 22, 2015, 9:09 AM
    • Ctrip (NASDAQ:CTRP) has jumped to $76.00 (its 52-week high) in premarket trading following news it's part of an investor group that has bought a 62.4% stake in smaller/struggling rival eLong from Expedia, and that it's partnering with Expedia in "specified geographic markets." In a PR about the move, Ctrip states it spent $400M to buy a 37.6% stake.
    • Archrival Qunar (NASDAQ:QUNR), whose shares were up 86% YTD going into today with the help of good earnings news, has fallen to $50.50.
    • Ctrip's alliance with Expedia might not sit well with Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), which last year struck a deal to buy up to a 10% stake in Ctrip.
    | May 22, 2015, 9:09 AM
  • May 21, 2015, 9:17 AM
    • New additions to Goldman's hedge fund hotels - 50 stocks which most frequently appear among the largest ten holdings of hedge funds: AerCap (NYSE:AER), Assured Guaranty (NYSE:AGO), Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), Citizens Financial (NYSE:CFG), Colony Capital (NYSE:CLNY), Dresser-Rand (NYSE:DRC), Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO), Hospira (NYSE:HSP), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), NXP Semi (NASDAQ:NXPI), Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ:PCYC), Visa (NYSE:V), and Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA).
    • Since 2001, the basket has outperformed the S&P 500 in 66% of quarters by an average of 73 basis points. YTD, however, it has underperformed by nine bps. Goldman notes the current basket overweights Consumer Discretionary (22%) and underweights Consumer Staples (2%).
    • Looking at the full list, Actavis (NYSE:ACT) leads the way, with 77 funds naming the stock as a top 10 holding. Next up is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) with 69, then Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) at 42. For the entire list of 50, the average is 26 funds making a stock a top 10 holding.
    • The rest in order: Valeant (NYSE:VRX), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Time Warner (NYSE:TWC), Delta (NYSE:DAL), Cheneire (NYSEMKT:LNG), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYK), AIG, SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE), Air Products (NYSE:APD), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), GM, BofA (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE:MIC), American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY), NorthStar Realty (NYSE:NRF), Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Micron (NASDAQ:MU), Williams (NYSE:WMB), Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), Dolar General (NYSE:DG), NorthStar Asset (NYSE:NSAM), Brookdale Senior (NYSE:BKD), DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH).
    • See also: Goldman updates list of hedge funds most-shorted stocks (May 21)
    | May 21, 2015, 9:17 AM | 19 Comments
  • May 7, 2015, 10:35 AM
    • Though Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) beat Q1 estimates on the back of a 12% Y/Y increase in bookings to $13.8B (above guidance for 2%-9% growth), it's guiding for 0%-7% Q2 bookings growth and EPS of $10.95-$11.75 (below a $13.10 consensus). The company has a history of guiding conservatively.
    • As expected, a weak euro is taking a heavy toll: Q1 bookings were up 26% in constant currency, and Q2 bookings guidance implies 15%-22% growth at CC. Q1 gross profit rose 19% in dollars, and 32% in CC.
    • Regional/segment performance: International bookings (they depend heavily on Europe) +13.7% Y/Y to $12.1B. U.S. bookings +2.1% to $1.67B. Hotel room nights +25.4% to 104.6M; rental car days +18% to 14.6M; air tickets -3.2% to 2M. Agency revenue +15% to $1.2B; merchant revenue -6% to $495M; ad/other revenue (boosted by Kayak) +99% to $147M. International bookings are expected to rise 0%-5% Y/Y in Q2, and U.S. bookings 0%-7%.
    • Financials: Gross margin rose to 90.8% from 85.6% a year ago. GAAP operating expenses +28% Y/Y to $1.24B, with online ad spend (much of it going to Google) up 24% to $643.2M. Priceline ended Q1 with $4.6B in cash/short-term investments, $5B in long-term investments, and $5.3B in long-term debt.
    • Q1 results, PR
    | May 7, 2015, 10:35 AM | 9 Comments
  • May 7, 2015, 7:19 AM
    • Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN): Q1 EPS of $8.12 beats by $0.40.
    • Revenue of $1.84B (+12.2% Y/Y) beats by $40M.
    • Shares +0.15% PM.
    | May 7, 2015, 7:19 AM | 3 Comments
  • Apr. 6, 2015, 5:19 PM
    • TripAdvisor's (NASDAQ:TRIP) reviews are now appearing within select Apple Maps hotel listings, as are those of Priceline's (NASDAQ:PCLN) unit. The agreements put an end to Yelp's role as Apple Maps' exclusive reviews partner.
    • MacRumors notes Yelp still appears to be the reviews provider for most U.S. hotel listings (as well as other local businesses). However, "seems to be more strongly represented" internationally. With Apple Maps pre-installed on hundreds of millions of active iOS devices, the deals could provide referral traffic boosts ... even if a large % of iOS users prefer Google Maps.
    • TripAdvisor rose 1.1% today, shrugging off news of CFO Julie Bradley's resignation and a resulting downgrade to Hold from Needham's Laura Martin. Martin is worried the timing of the departure (two days after Q1 ended) "could indicate that 1Q was weaker than we feared, with the company seeking to place responsibility with [Bradley]," and also about the fact TripAdvisor still only gets 15% of its revenue from mobile (compared with 44% of its traffic).
    • Priceline rose 2.1%, aided by a bullish coverage launch from Argus.
    | Apr. 6, 2015, 5:19 PM
  • Apr. 6, 2015, 11:46 AM
    • Argus Research has launched coverage on Priceline (PCLN) with a Buy rating and $1,480 target.
    • Priceline is outperforming amid a 0.5% gain for the Nasdaq. Argus' launch comes 6 days after Stifel upgraded the online travel giant.
    | Apr. 6, 2015, 11:46 AM
  • Mar. 31, 2015, 9:59 AM
    • Believing the company's risk/reward and (free cash flow-based) valuation are favorable after months of underperforming equity markets, Stifel has upgraded Priceline (PCLN +1.3%) to Buy, and set a $1,400 target.
    • The online travel giant is up 17% from a Jan. 29 low of $992.12, but remains 13% below its March 2013 highs thanks to European macro and forex concerns; the Nasdaq has risen over 10% during this time. Shares trade for 20x a 2015 EPS consensus of $57.24, and 17x a 2016 EPS consensus of $67.77.
    • Stifel downgraded Priceline to Hold on Jan. 8, when shares were at $1,069.57.
    | Mar. 31, 2015, 9:59 AM | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 10, 2015, 9:16 AM
    • Two weeks after announcing a euro-denominated debt offering, Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) has announced a dollar-denominated debt offering. (prospectus)
    • The online travel giant only says the proceeds will be used for "general corporate purposes." It's less than a month removed from launching a $3B buyback, and also hasn't been scared to make big acquisitions.
    • Priceline ended 2014 with over $8B in cash/investments, and nearly $3.9B in debt.
    • PCLN -1.2% premarket to $1,203.00.
    | Mar. 10, 2015, 9:16 AM
  • Feb. 27, 2015, 11:31 AM
    • Factset has compiled a list of the most popular holdings of hedge funds at the end of Q4 and which stocks fell in or out of favor within the group.
    • Overall, hedge funds increased their positions in the top 50 holdings during the quarter by 1%.
    • Top 50 hedge fund consumer staples/discretionary stocks showing an increase: Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) +1.3%, PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) +20.3%, Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN) +24.2%, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) +15.3%.
    • Top 50 hedge fund consumer staples/discretionary stocks showing a decrease: Mastercard (NYSE:MA) -4.2%, Walgreen Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) -1.3%, Dollar General (NYSE:DG) -11.6%, Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ) -0.9%.
    • Another way to look at the list is to examine which stocks are missing. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) are in that club.
    • Factset's hedge fund ownership report (.pdf)
    | Feb. 27, 2015, 11:31 AM | 16 Comments
  • Feb. 27, 2015, 9:37 AM
    • Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) names Paul Hennessy to be the CEO of to replace Chris Soder who will become Chairman of the business.
    • Hennessy is currently the CMO at
    • In his role, Hennessy will be the top operating exec for the business.
    • He will report to Darren Huston who has been the CEO of the Priceline Group since last year.
    | Feb. 27, 2015, 9:37 AM | 2 Comments
  • Feb. 24, 2015, 6:48 AM
    • Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) announces it will offer a new senior note issue.
    • The company plans to use the funds for general corporate purposes which could include buybacks and acquisitions.
    • The amount of the new issue hasn't been disclosed yet.
    | Feb. 24, 2015, 6:48 AM
Company Description
Priceline Group Inc is a provider of online travel and travel related reservation and search services. The Company offer consumers accommodation reservations through its, and brands.
Sector: Services
Country: United States