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Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN)

- NASDAQ
  • May. 2, 2014, 10:45 AM
    • Though Expedia (EXPE -2.7%) beat Q1 estimates on the back of solid bookings growth, the company reiterated guidance for 13-16% full-year adjusted EBITDA growth on its CC (transcript), while adding "the vast majority" of the growth will happen in 2H14.
    • Moreover, when asked by Deutsche's Ross Sandler whether hotel room night growth (24% Y/Y in Q1 and 25% in Q4) could accelerate to 30%+ in Q2 given an "easy comp" for Hotwire (the business struggled in Q2 last year) and a shift in Easter's timing from Q1 to Q2, CFO Mark Okerstrom chose to punt. "Well, I would say that Hotwire is actually a headwind for us until Q3 ... we don't expect that Q2 is a particularly easy comp for us on the bottom line."
    • Priceline (PCLN -0.1%), which is near breakeven in spite of Expedia's decline, has been providing tough competition for Hotwire in the opaque travel bookings space. Its Q1 report arrives on May 8.
    • Expedia's gross bookings rose 29% Y/Y in Q1 to $12.6B, an improvement from Q4's 21% clip and Q3's 15%. U.S. bookings rose 35% to $7.43B, and international bookings 21% to $5.2B. Room nights +24% with a 10% drop in revenue/night, air tickets sold +30% with a 1% increase in airfare.
    • Heavy online ad spend led sales/marketing expenses to grow 26% to $624.7M (52% of revenue). The Travelocity deal boosted room night growth by 3%, and air ticket growth by 18%.
    | Comment!
  • May. 1, 2014, 12:26 PM
    • Yelp's Q1 report, which was accompanied by a full-year guidance hike and followed by a slew of upgrades, is helping fuel a major rally in high-beta Internet stocks that were pummeled over much of March and April.
    • LinkedIn (LNKD +5.5%), which reports after the close and entered trading down 40% from a high of $257.56, is among the notable gainers. As are Twitter (TWTR +3.5%), crushed yesterday in response to its Q1 numbers and guidance, and Pandora (P +6.5%), hit hard last Friday due to the light Q2 guidance provided with a Q1 beat.
    • Facebook (FB +3.5%), less damaged by the selloff than some peers, is posting solid gains as the Street gives a thumbs-up to yesterday's mobile ad network launch. "Facebook is essentially bringing the high advertising ROI and targeting precision it has perfected on its own app to the rest of the mobile web," proclaims Goldman, albeit while cautioning near-term sales will be limited.
    • Netlifx (NFLX +5.5%), off 30% from its high going into trading in spite of a positive response to last week's Q1 beat and price hike announcement, is bouncing strongly.
    • Other gainers: ZU +5.9%. TRLA +5.6% (rallied yesterday following earnings). PCLN +2.8%. EXPE +3.7%. MEET +4.3%. LIVE +9.9%. ANGI +3%.
    | 2 Comments
  • Feb. 21, 2014, 5:39 PM
    • For the second quarter in a row (previous), Priceline (PCLN +2.5%) has rallied in spite of providing light guidance to go with a beat. The online travel giant has a long history of guiding conservatively, and analysts parsing its Q4 numbers think it's being cautious once again.
    • Gross bookings once again blew away guidance in Q4, growing 38.8% Y/Y vs. 37.5% in Q3 and a guidance range of 27%-34%. International bookings (85% of total bookings) rose 41.2% vs. 41.8% in Q3, and domestic bookings 26.5% vs. just 16.7%. Officially at least, Priceline expects 23%-33% Q1 bookings growth.
    • Stifel has upped its PT to $1,500 from $1,250, and sees the strong Q4 hotel room night growth delivered by Priceline (37% Y/Y) and rivals as evidence "Global travel remains in secular growth."
    • Stifel and others note Priceline's margins are under pressure (op. margin -200 bps Y/Y) as the company continues ramping marketing spend (ad spend rose 36% to $427M), but they add the Q4 decline was smaller than expected.
    • Evercore has hiked its 2014 bookings growth forecast to 32% and 28%. But it's only raising its gross profit forecast by 2%, due to a belief higher-margin opaque inventory deals will keep declining as a percentage of sales.
    • CC transcript
    | 1 Comment
  • Feb. 20, 2014, 4:27 PM
    • Q1 EPS guidance of $6.35-$6.85 is shy of consensus $7.21. Revenue is expected to rise 15-25%, lower than projections for 27%.
    • CC at 4:30 ET
    • Press release, Q4 results
    • PCLN +1% AH
    | 1 Comment
  • Feb. 20, 2014, 4:15 PM
    • priceline.com Incorporated (PCLN): Q4 EPS of $8.85 beats by $0.56.
    • Revenue of $1.54B (+29.4% Y/Y) beats by $20M.
    • Shares +1.5%.
    • Press Release
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  • Feb. 13, 2014, 1:21 PM
    • A day after rallying in response to TripAdvisor's strong Q4 report and guidance, Priceline (PCLN +2%) and Expedia (EXPE +2.2%) are following Orbitz (OWW +29.4%) higher. The travel site has skyrocketed in response to a healthy Q4 beat. Also helping: 10% of Orbitz's float was shorted as of Jan. 31.
    • Orbitz, pummeled in November following a Q3 EPS miss, is guiding for Q1 revenue of $202M-$207M (below a $207.3M consensus) , and for low-to-mid single-digit full-year revenue growth (consensus is for 3.7% growth). Full-year adjusted EBITDA is expected to grow at a high-single digit rate.
    • Gross bookings rose 4% Y/Y in Q4 vs. 5% in Q3, and net revenue margin rose 30 bps Y/Y to 8%. Standalone hotel revenue +18%, standalone air -11%, vacation packages +16%, ads/media -2%, everything else -3%.
    • Much like its peers, Orbitz is spending heavily on advertising: Marketing spend rose to 32.1% of revenue from 29.4% a year ago.
    • Priceline might also be getting a lift from a Credit Suisse PT hike.
    • Orbitz's earnings release
    | Comment!
  • Feb. 12, 2014, 12:03 PM
    • TripAdvisor (TRIP +8.3%) is making new highs after beating Q4 revenue estimates and providing strong guidance on its CC (transcript). The travel reviews leader said it expects 2014 revenue growth to be in the mid-20s range (consensus is at 21.9%), and for EBITDA to grow at a similar clip.
    • TripAdvisor expects click-based (CPC) ad sales to show accelerating growth in 2014, with full-year growth in the low-20s range. Display ad sales (CPM-based) are expected to grow at a high-teens rate, and all other businesses (subscriptions, transactions, etc.) are expected to collectively grow in the low-50s range.
    • CPC ad sales made up 68% of Q4 revenue, display ads 15%, and all other businesses 17%. North American sales (51% of revenue) rose 22%, EMEA 30%, and Asia-Pac 40%. Latin America was flat.
    • Mobile's share of TripAdvisor traffic doubled to 40% in 2013, and app downloads rose nearly 150% to 82M. Travel listings rose 80% to 550K, and business listing subs 38% to 69K.
    • Priceline (PCLN +2.5%) and Expedia (EXPE +1.1%), both major TripAdvisor clients, are also trading higher. Expedia took off last week following a Q4 beat. Priceline, which launched an updated Android app this morning, reports on Feb. 20.
    | 2 Comments
  • Feb. 6, 2014, 5:47 PM
    • Expedia (EXPE) has soared to new highs after handily beating Q4 EPS estimates and reporting a sizable acceleration in gross bookings growth (+21% Y/Y vs. +15% in Q3). Archrival Priceline (PCLN) is following Expedia higher, as is Orbitz (OWW), whose shares are up 2.4% AH.
    • The bookings growth was fueled by a 25% Y/Y increase in hotel room nights (up from 20% in Q3), and a 13% increase in air tickets sold. Revenue/hotel room night fell 9%, and revenue per air ticket rose 3%.
    • Domestic bookings +19% Y/Y to $4.98B, international bookings +24% to $4.12B. Agency bookings +26% to $5.25B, merchant bookings +15% to $3.86B.
    • Much like Priceline, Expedia continues spending heavily on search ads: Sales/marketing spend +23% Y/Y to $484M (42% of revenue). Technology/content spend +15% to $155M.
    • If history is any guide, TripAdvisor (TRIP) might also follow Expedia higher. TripAdvisor reports on Feb. 11, and Priceline on Feb. 20.
    | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 20, 2013, 7:20 AM
    • One thousand five hundred is Goldman's new price target for Priceline (PCLN) after analyst Heath Terry adds the stock to the firm's Conviction Buy list.
    • "One of the most compelling risk/reward scenarios in our internet coverage," is how Terry describes the stock, noting it trades at a discount to its sector on a relative growth basis. "We see increasing upside potential to our already above consensus estimates as [PCLN benefits] from a European recovery, mobile traffic growth, and increasing economies of scale, particularly in customer acquisition."
    • The stock's up 1.8% to $1,139 in premarket trade.
    | 3 Comments
  • Nov. 8, 2013, 5:42 PM
    • "With accelerating growth, a benign macro environment, and the stock trading in line with the group despite faster growth, we continue to believe the risk/reward in owning PCLN is favorable," writes Goldman's Heath Terry following Priceline's (PCLN +4.9%) Q3 beat. His PT has been raised to $1,260 from $1,200, equaling a somewhat lofty 18x estimated 2014 EV/EBITDA.
    • Pac Crest's Chad Bartley is just as upbeat - he thinks "low- to middle-20% growth in gross profit and earnings is sustainable for the next two years," and that improving European macro conditions or further U.S. share gains could provide additional upside. Deutsche and JPMorgan also made note of Priceline's share gains, in the U.S. and elsewhere.
    • Priceline's gross bookings rose 37.5% Y/Y in Q3, nearly matching Q2's 38% clip. The company is guiding for bookings growth to drop to 27%-34% in Q4, but then again, it provided the same bookings guidance for Q3. Revenue growth guidance (19%-26% vs. a 28% consensus) is also conservative; Priceline reported 33% revenue growth for Q3 after guiding for 23%-30%.
    • International bookings (85% of total) soared 42% Y/Y in Q3, while domestic bookings rose 17% (the highest rate since Q1 2012). Hotel rooms +36%, rental car days +28%, air tickets +8.6% (highest growth rate in years).
    • Gross margin surged to 42.4% from 37.8% in Q2 and 26.9% a year ago. Online ad spend (much of it going to Google) remains aggressive: it rose 42% Y/Y to $533.2M, and equaled 23% of revenue.
    • Q3 results, guidance/CEO change, CC transcript
    | 1 Comment
  • Nov. 8, 2013, 8:56 AM
    • Priceline (PCLN) has been upgraded to Buy by Monness Crespi after beating Q3 estimates, issuing light Q4 EPS guidance, and announcing a CEO change. Shares +2% premarket after initially trading lower in AH trading yesterday.
    • Windstream (WIN) has been cut to Underweight by Morgan Stanley a day after missing Q3 estimates. Shares -0.9% premarket after dropping 5.6% yesterday.
    • SolarWinds (SWI) has been upgraded to Buy by Needham 10 days after beating Q3 estimates and issuing below-consensus Q4 guidance.
    • Aspen Technology (AZPN) has been upgraded to Buy by UBS a week after beating FQ1 estimates and raising full-year guidance.
    • SunEdison's (SUNE) PT has been raised to $21 (a Street high) from $11 by Citi two days after the company beat Q3 estimates, issued strong solar division guidance, and raised the possibility of spinning off some of its solar assets into a new company. The company is already set to do an IPO for its chip wafer unit. Shares +6.7% premarket.
    | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 7, 2013, 4:07 PM
    • Priceline (PCLN): Q3 EPS of $17.30 beats by $1.08.
    • Revenue of $2.27B beats by $50M. (PR)
    • PCLN -3.8% AH
    | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 30, 2013, 5:16 PM
    • What a difference a quarter makes: Three months after Expedia (EXPE) crashed due to a Q2 miss caused partly by poor TripAdvisor-related sales and share losses to Priceline's Booking.com unit, shares are taking off in response to a Q3 beat driven by a pickup in revenue growth (+20% vs. +16% in Q2) and gross bookings growth (+15% vs. +13%).
    • Excluding Trivago, Q3 revenue growth would be 14%, and Q2 growth 12%.
    • Expedia's domestic bookings (56% of total) rose 13% Y/Y in Q3 after growing only 7% in Q2. International bookings +18% vs. +23%. Domestic revenue +12%, international +23%.
    • Hotel revenue (73% of total) +11% Y/Y, air revenue (7% of total) +16%, other revenue (inc. ads, 20% of total) +44%, boosted by Trivago.
    • Hotel room nights +20% Y/Y vs. +19%. Revenue per hotel room night fell 7% Y/Y, and average daily room rates were flat.
    • $221M was spent on buybacks. Sales/marketing spend rose 24% Y/Y to $625.3M, as Expedia continues competing fiercely with Priceline and others for Google search keywords.
    • EXPE +18.3% AH. PCLN +1.5%. TRIP +1%. OWW +2.7%. CTRP +1.8%.
    • Q3 results, PR
    | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 21, 2013, 11:35 AM
    • Susquehanna's Brian Nowak has raised his Priceline (PCLN +3%) PT to $1,200 from $1,135, and says checks indicate the company's European Bookings.com unit continues to take share from Expedia (EXPE -0.6%).
    • Following its Q2 miss, Expedia admitted it's seeing tougher competition from Bookings.com. Priceline posted very strong international bookings numbers for Q2. Last week, Deutsche downgraded Expedia while stating checks pointed to tougher U.S. competition.
    • TripAdvisor (TRIP +1.8%), which does plenty of business with both Priceline and Expedia, is trading higher.
    • TripAdvisor reports on Wednesday, Expedia on Oct. 30, and Priceline on Nov. 7.
    | Comment!
  • Oct. 14, 2013, 10:45 AM
    • Deutsche's Ross Sandler, who has downgraded Expedia (EXPE -7.8%) to Hold, says checks indicate the company is "facing much more intense competition in the U.S. market." He's also worried about Expedia's decision to shake up Hotels.com's management.
    • Expedia crashed in July after missing Q2 estimates and more or less admitting it lost share during the quarter to Priceline (PCLN -1.1%). In August, Deutsche reported its checks suggested Expedia is taking back lost share.
    • Priceline and other online travel peers are off moderately. TRIP -1%. TZOO -2.1%. OWW -2.9%.
    | Comment!
  • Aug. 9, 2013, 12:09 PM
    • Analysts are rushing to give Priceline (PCLN +4.6%) $1,000+ PTs in the wake of the online travel giant's Q2 beat and healthy guidance.
    • Cantor ($1,050) thinks Priceline not only performed well internationally, but "also likely gained ground in the US, benefiting from increased TV ads and Expedia's mis-execution on TripAdvisor." It sees Priceline's "best-in-class hotel inventory" and Kayak's international expansion fueling additional share gains.
    • Deutsche ($1,120) thinks Priceline's EBITDA margin (pressured lately by heavy ad spend) could be roughly flat Y/Y in Q3, a notable improvement from recent quarters.
    • Evercore ($1,100) declares Booking.com "still enjoys the highest marketing efficiency in the industry." Its PT is based on a lofty multiple of 24x 2014E adjusted EPS.
    • Priceline noted on its CC Booking.com now lists 330K+ hotels/accomodations, +40% Y/Y. The company attributed its 410 bps Y/Y op. margin drop to lower (online) ad ROIs, mix shifts, and growing offline ad spend for Kayak and Booking.com.
    | 1 Comment
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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 Booking.com, priceline.com and agoda.com brands.
Sector: Services
Country: United States