Expedia Profit Tops Expectations

Expedia Inc. on Thursday posted better-than-expected profit in its second quarter, as brands like its namesake and Hotels.com continued to drive bookings growth.

Shares added 6.7% in after-hours trading.

Expedia's core brands have been driving growth lately, even as foreign-currency swings have weighed on results. Meanwhile, Expedia has been buying more brands to add new customers. The company in November closed a deal for Australia's Wotif Holdings Ltd. In the U.S., Expedia recently bought Sabre Corp.'s Travelocity brand.

In the latest quarter, gross bookings jumped 20%, excluding eLong, or 28% on a constant currency basis. Bookings were helped by strength in its Expedia and Hotels.com brands.

Average room nights rose 35%.

For the second quarter, Expedia posted a profit of $449.6 million, or $3.38 a share, up from $89.4 million, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier.

Results in the latest quarter were boosted by the $671 million sale of its majority stake in eLong Inc. in May. The sale came amid growing losses at the Chinese mobile and online-travel service that have weighed on Expedia's profit.

Excluding that gain and other one-time items, earnings were 89 cents a share, down from $1.03 a share a year earlier.

Revenue grew 11% to $1.66 billion, but would have been up 25% excluding currency fluctuations and eLong.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast per-share earnings of 85 cents on revenue of $1.7 billion.

The results come as Expedia continues to move forward with its deal to buy rival Orbitz Worldwide Inc., which was unveiled in February. Regulators were expected to take a hard look at the deal. The company didn't offer an update on the review on Thursday.

(By Chelsey Dulaney)