You can expect numerous other companies to withdraw their first quarter financial guidance, if they haven't already done so. A key question is how will the competitive landscape get reshaped once the crisis abates.
After Booking Holdings did likewise a few days earlier, Expedia Group withdrew its first quarter financial guidance, citing the ongoing impact of coronavirus.
In addition, Expedia Group announced Friday it would be suspending share repurchases so it can retain maximum flexibility to maneuver during the pandemic. Its stock has plummeted 43 percent in the past four weeks, to close Friday at $69.63.
During an earnings call February 13, Expedia Group estimated that the negative impact to earnings in the first quarter would be $30 million to $40 million, but it said Friday the hit would be “in excess” of that figure.
“As COVID-19 has rapidly spread from Asia to Europe and North America over the past few weeks, travel trends have continued to worsen,” Chairman Barry Diller and Vice Chairman Peter Kern said in a statement. “It remains difficult to predict how long this pandemic will persist, and given the lack of visibility on our trends we’ve decided to withdraw our 2020 guidance.”
Expedia Group is carrying out layoffs of about 12 percent of its workforce, and said it is on track to achieve run-rate cost cuts of $300 million to $500 million by the end of 2020.
Diller and Kern added, “During this time, we continue to focus on operating efficiently and remain on track to reach run-rate cost savings of $300-$500 million by the end of the year. We’re also prudently managing our strong balance sheet and have suspended share repurchases to provide additional flexibility as we navigate this situation. Additionally, we are focused on ensuring the health and safety of our customers and employees, and working closely with our partners to manage through these unfortunate circumstances.”
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Photo credit: The worse-than-expected coronavirus impact prompted Expedia Group to withdraw its first quarter financial guidance. Olivia Carville / Bloomberg