From almost being delisted from Nasdaq in 2001, to the almost $1000 price now, the turnaround of Priceline is the most remarkable and surely the most under-appreciated large-scale turnaround in Internet history.
Shares of Priceline.com Inc. approached $1,000 in trading Friday, a day after the travel website announced second-quarter results that jumped 24 percent and trumped analyst expectations.
The Norwalk, Conn., company said Thursday that the summer travel season got off to a strong start for its brands, as customers booked more flights, rental cars and hotels.
During the quarter, Priceline.com Inc. completed a $1.8 billion acquisition of fare-comparison website Kayak. The company also operates booking.com, rentalcars.com and agoda.com.
Priceline earned $437.3 million, or $8.39 per share, in the second quarter, up from $352.3 million, or $6.88 per share, in the same period last year. Excluding one-time items such as acquisition costs, earnings came to $9.70 per share.
That topped analyst expectations of $9.38 per share, according to FactSet.
Revenue rose 27 percent to $1.68 billion, which beat the average analyst forecast of $1.65 billion.
Benchmark analyst Daniel L. Kurnos said in a Friday morning research note that he thinks Priceline gained some market share from competitor Expedia in the quarter, and the company will be able to maintain its momentum.
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Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Naved Khan said in a separate note the company will gain more growth opportunities as it deploys Kayak in more international markets. He also said the company will continue to gain market share “given its best-in-class hotel inventory.”
Priceline shares rose 6.4 percent, or $59.75, to $993.50 in premarket trading about 75 minutes before the market opens. That would set the stock on course to top its all-time high price of $990 during the regular trading session. FactSet said Priceline hit that mark in 1999.
Photo credit: Stars of the current Priceline.com advertising campaign, William Shatner and Kaley Cuoco. Priceline