Priceline 4Q results beat analysts' estimates; board OKs repurchase of up to $3B shares

Markets Associated Press

The Priceline Group Inc.'s fourth-quarter results topped Wall Street expectations, thanks in part to hotel and car rental reservation growth.

Continue Reading Below

The travel-booking company's board also approved the repurchase of up to an additional $3 billion of its common stock.

Shares of Priceline climbed more than 8 percent in Thursday morning trading.

The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company earned $451.8 million, or $8.56 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were $10.85 per share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $10.05 per share.

The online booking service posted revenue of $1.84 billion in the period, also exceeding Wall Street forecasts. Analysts expected $1.8 billion, according to Zacks.

Continue Reading Below

Priceline's stock gained $90.82, or 8.1 percent, to $1,213.81.

CEO Darren Huston said during a conference call that he doesn't believe that the recent announcement by rival Expedia Inc. that it is buying Orbitz Worldwide Inc. for about $1.3 billion is a negative for the online travel sector. The executive said that the buyout "consolidates and clarifies competition."

For the year, the Priceline reported a profit of $2.42 billion, or $45.67 per share. Its adjusted profit was $53.31 per share. Revenue was reported as $8.44 billion.

For the current quarter ending in March, Priceline expects adjusted earnings in a range of $7.20 to $7.75 per share. Analysts surveyed by Zacks forecast adjusted earnings of $10.79 per share.

_____

Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on PCLN at http://www.zacks.com/ap/PCLN

_____

Keywords: Priceline, Earnings Report