The Priceline Group Inc.NASDAQ
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  • Wed, Apr. 13, 10:39 AM
    • The travel sector will face some near-term challenges as companies expand into Cuba, according to analysis from Moody's.
    • Cruise line operators (CCL, RCL, NCLH) face limited port infrastructure in Cuba which will limit growth. Larger ship trips are unlikely until considerable construction is taken up.
    • Hotel chains (MAR, HOT) looking to bring well-known brands to the island also infrastructure issues. Government-controlled employee compensation is also in the mix.
    • Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) appears to be in a better position to benefit from travel to Cuba with its simpler business model.
    | Wed, Apr. 13, 10:39 AM | 2 Comments
  • Tue, Apr. 12, 1:37 AM
    • A Cowen survey of 1,400 U.S. travelers found 44% of those who were Airbnb (Private:AIRB) users were very likely to recommend the service, and that another 38% were likely to recommend it. Airbnb users were also “9X as likely to be more satisfied by their average Airbnb stay vs. their average hotel stay for leisure travel.”
    • However, 99% of Airbnb users also used hotels in the prior year, and were “heavier users of hotels (at 10 leisure hotel nights per customer) than the average hotel customer in [Cowen’s] survey (at 7 leisure hotel nights per customer).” Altogether, hotels still accounted for 69% of Airbnb users' total paid travel nights.
    • Moreover, online hotel bookings leaders Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) and Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) have been investing in their own home/apartment rental offerings. Vacation rentals now account for an estimated 46% of the listings on Priceline’s Booking.com - most of the listings are in Europe - and Expedia recently bought leading vacation rental marketplace HomeAway for $3.9B. Cowen estimates vacation rentals now account for 15% of Priceline’s room bookings.
    • Now read Priceline And Expedia Face The Might Of Airbnb
    | Tue, Apr. 12, 1:37 AM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Mar. 30, 11:19 AM
    • "What concerns us most is the continued extreme overweight in lower quality stocks," says BAML's Savita Subramanian. A strategy of buying the ten most underweight stocks and selling the ten most overowned stocks has generated an average alpha of 15 percentage points per year, she says.
    • This chart from the BAML report shows the 11 most overowned stocks based on percentage of funds holding vs. their weighting in the S&P 500. At the top is PCLN, followed by MA, BIIB, V, MDT, TWX, ESRX, BA, AMGN, CELG, AMZN.
    • Among those underowned are: AGL Resources (NYSE:GAS) and Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO).
    • via Scott Barlow
    | Wed, Mar. 30, 11:19 AM | 27 Comments
  • Tue, Mar. 22, 8:30 AM
    • Travel-related stocks are down sharply following the terror attacks in Belgium at a metro station and the international airport.
    • The latest report indicates 26 people were killed and 130 were injured from the explosions.
    • Notable movers in premarket trading include Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN-2.26%, Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE-3.1%, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL-2.5%, Carnival (NYSE:CCL-2.4%, United Continental (NYSE:UAL-3.6%, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NASDAQ:NCLH-2.0%, Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL-2.4%, Tripadvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP-1.6%.
    • Previously: Brussels Airport, metro stations rocked by explosions (March 22)
    • Previously: Futures lower after terrorist attacks in Brussels (March 22)
    | Tue, Mar. 22, 8:30 AM | 2 Comments
  • Mon, Mar. 21, 4:05 PM
    • Add Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) to the ranks of U.S. firms expanding into Cuba amid a thawing of ties: The online travel giant's Booking.com unit has struck a deal with the Cuban government to let U.S. travelers book rooms at Cuban and foreign-owned hotels.
    • Booking.com will initially operate in Havana, and work with foreign firms such as France's Accor and Spain's Melia Hotels. Payments will be routed through a European partner.
    • Home/apartment rental platform Airbnb (Private:AIRB) has also entered Cuba. Though general tourism by Americans to Cuba is still prohibited, the Treasury now approves travel licenses for religion, family visits, cultural exchange, and other purposes.
    | Mon, Mar. 21, 4:05 PM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Feb. 19, 11:36 AM
    • Digging through this week's 13F filings, Evercore ISI's Pankal Patel and team attempt to separate the holdings of hedge funds and other active managers.
    • What they found were that institutions (active managers) were most overweight Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), IBM, and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). Two new names on the overweight short-list: Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) and Zimmer Biomet (NYSE:ZBH).
    • Hedge funds, on the other hand, were most overweight Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Hedge funds also added to holdings of AIG, Humana (NYSE:HUM), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), and EMC during Q4.
    • Also of interest: While consumer discretionary stocks (NYSEARCA:XLY) continue to be the top over-weighted sector for hedge funds, they pulled back from those names considerably during the quarter, and added to tech (NYSEARCA:XLK) in a big way. They also added to their underweight in the consumer staples stocks (NYSEARCA:XLP).
    | Fri, Feb. 19, 11:36 AM | 4 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 17, 10:14 AM
    • Expedia (EXPE +6.4%) and TripAdvisor (TRIP +4.1%) are seeing healthy gains as Priceline (PCLN +10.6%) surges after beating Q4 estimates and reporting bookings growth accelerated to 13% Y/Y from Q3's 7% (and beat guidance for 1%-8% growth). Last week, Priceline and TripAdvisor gained in response to Expedia's Q4 numbers.
    • Guidance: Priceline's Q1 top-line guidance is healthy: Bookings are expected to rise 12%-19% Y/Y (18%-25% exc. forex), room nights by 20%-27%, and revenue by 9%-16% (compares with Q4's 9%). EPS guidance of $9.00-$9.60 is below a $9.61 consensus, but (as Q4 results show) Priceline has a history of issuing conservative EPS outlooks.
    • Q4 top-line performance: International revenue (89% of total revenue) rose 15.9% Y/Y (29% exc. forex) to $10.7B; U.S. revenue fell 7.6% to $1.3B. Agency revenue rose 15.3% to $10.3B; merchant revenue fell 0.9% to $1.7B.

      Room nights booked rose 26.6% to 99.1M, an improvement from Q3's 22% growth and the highest growth rate seen since Q3 2014. Rental car days +10.6% to 12.2M vs. +13% in Q3. Air tickets -2.6% to 1.7M vs. -1.1% in Q3.
    • Financials: GAAP operating expenses rose 11% Y/Y to $1.22B - $582M was spent on online ads (much of it going to Google), $33.4M on offline ads, $83.7M on sales/marketing, $106.6M on G&A, $32.3M on IT, $70.7M on depreciation/amortization, and $312.6M on "Personnel" expenses, including stock compensation.

      Priceline ended Q4 with $2.6B in cash, $7.9B in long-term investments, and $6.2B in long-term debt.
    • Priceline's Q4 results, earnings release
    | Wed, Feb. 17, 10:14 AM
  • Wed, Feb. 17, 9:14 AM
    | Wed, Feb. 17, 9:14 AM | 6 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 17, 7:26 AM
    • Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN): Q4 EPS of $12.63 beats by $0.83.
    • Revenue of $2B (+8.7% Y/Y) beats by $40M.
    • Shares +8.04% PM.
    | Wed, Feb. 17, 7:26 AM
  • Wed, Feb. 17, 7:19 AM
    • Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) reports gross travel bookings rose 12.7% to $12.02B in Q4.
    • International bookings were up 15.9% (+29% constant currency), while U.S. bookings fell back 7.6%.
    • Gross profit was up 12.2% to $1.879B. Operating expenses increased 11.5% to $1.221B.
    • The company sees Q1 gross travel bookings growth of 12% to 19% and EPS of $9.00 to $9.60 vs. $9.60 consensus.
    • PCLN +10.0% premarket to $1,222.
    | Wed, Feb. 17, 7:19 AM | 8 Comments
  • Tue, Feb. 16, 5:30 PM
  • Wed, Feb. 10, 5:33 PM
    • Though Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) missed Q4 EPS and (to a lesser extent) revenue estimates, the company reported gross bookings rose 32% Y/Y (40% exc. eLong, which has been divested) to $15B. Excluding eLong and the acquisitions of Orbitz/HomeAway, bookings rose 17% to $12.5B.
    • Top-line performance: Expedia's core travel agency business saw bookings rise 44% to $13.6B, and its Egencia managed travel services business saw bookings rise 13% to $1.4B. U.S. bookings +50% to $9.6B; international bookings (hurt by a strong dollar) +26% to $5.4B. Hotel revenue +24%, air revenue (major boost from Orbitz) +61%, ad/media revenue +22%, other revenue +37%.
    • Metrics: Excluding eLong (and including Orbitz/HomeAway), room nights rose 39% Y/Y to 52.8M thanks to both M&A and organic growth. U.S. room nights +33%, international +47%. Revenue/night fell 11%. Air ticket sales rose 70% thanks to Orbitz, with revenue/ticket dropping 5%.
    • Financials: Thanks in part to Orbitz/HomeAway, adjusted costs/expenses rose 37% Y/Y to $1.57B, with sales/marketing spend rising 33% to $775M and R&D 48% to $170M. $45M was spent on buybacks. 2015 free cash flow was $581M (-44% Y/Y due to higher capex). Expedia ended 2015 with $1.7B in cash and $3.2B in debt.
    • Expedia has jumped to $106.00 after hours. Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) is up 4.6% to $1,080.00. TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP) is up 6.7% to $58.00.
    | Wed, Feb. 10, 5:33 PM
  • Wed, Jan. 27, 9:58 AM
    • Believing the environment for online travel firms is "becoming less favorable," Goldman's Heath Terry has downgraded TripAdvisor (TRIP -2.1%) to Sell ahead of the company's Feb. 11 Q4 report, and cut his target by $9 to $59.
    • Terry, who has also downgraded Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) to Neutral, argues high hotel occupancy and average daily rates serve to "crowd out leisure travelers," that rising online booking penetration rates leave less room for share gains, and that competition is growing from alternative accommodation providers (read: Airbnb) and traditional traffic sources (e.g. Google).
    • Regarding TripAdvisor in particular, Terry is worried about valuation, slowing revenue growth, and near-term monetization headwinds caused by Instant Booking adoption. "While we believe a cost per acquisition based model like [Instant Booking] has the potential to generate incremental revenue for TripAdvisor over time, the lack of broad coverage, terms negotiated during a period of unprecedented supplier leverage, and conversion rate challenges from the dual track results consumers are presented with are likely to drive slowing revenue growth in the interim ... That said, we believe as a traffic asset TripAdvisor could be an attractive M&A target to larger OTAs."
    • Yesterday: TripAdvisor strikes Instant Booking deal with Starwood
    | Wed, Jan. 27, 9:58 AM
  • Wed, Jan. 27, 7:34 AM
    • Goldman Sachs downgrades The Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN) to a Neutral rating after having the stock set at Buy.
    • The investment firm drops its price target on the online travel firm to $1,200 from $1,500.
    • PCLN -3.29% premarket to $1,075.
    | Wed, Jan. 27, 7:34 AM | 5 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 26, 1:33 PM
    • A little over a month after rallying on a vague Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) M&A rumor, Yelp (YELP +2.7%) is at it again.
    • The latest rumor comes ahead of Yelp's Feb. 8 Q4 report. As always, short-covering could be fueling the gains: 9.5M shares (17% of the float) were shorted as Dec. 31.
    | Tue, Jan. 26, 1:33 PM | 3 Comments
  • Dec. 23, 2015, 2:05 PM
    • Priceline's (PCLN -0.2%) European Booking.com unit (accounts for a giant % of the company's travel bookings) has been ordered by Germany's competition authority to guarantee its hotel partners are free to charge lower rates on their own sites than they charge to Booking.com and other agencies, which of course collect a commission on sales.
    • As a result, Booking.com is rewriting its contracts with German hotel partners. Both the Priceline unit and Expedia (EXPE -1.2%) previously agreed in many European markets to allow for lower rates via rival agencies, but not on the hotel owners' sites. In addition to Booking.com, German regulators are probing the practices of Expedia and other online travel sites.
    • Booking.com plans to appeal the German ruling, which goes into effect on Jan. 31 and could spark similar moves in other EU countries. Germany is the EU's largest market in terms of both population (80.6M) and GDP ($3.9T).
    | Dec. 23, 2015, 2:05 PM