Holy Shatner! Priceline Nears $1,000 Per Share

Andrew Klips |

Shares of Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) have made a monumental recovery in the past decade, exceeding prices set during the dotcom bubble so many years ago. The split-adjusted price of one share of PCLN had submerged from over $950 in 1999 to as low as $6.30 in 2003 before beginning the kind of upward march that shareholder dreams are made of, gaining nearly 16,000 percent at current levels near $1,000 per share.

On a side note, if you’re pondering about how much William Shatner made off the rise in share value, no one really knows. Shatner reportedly insisted to be paid in Priceline stock when he first came on as spokesman before the dotcom collapse, but it has not been disclosed as to how many shares he received or at what price (or when) he sold.  The Toronto Sun printed in 2010 that Shatner made $600 million on the deal, but the actor has said that is not true.

Back to the company.

Shares closed Thursday at $933.75, but have traveled as high as $994.98 minutes after Friday’s opening bell after beating analysts with a second-quarter earnings report following Thursday’s closing bell.

The Priceline Group consists of five primary brands: Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, rentalcars.com and Kayak.  Priceline closed its $1.8-billion acquisition of Kayak Software Corp. during the second quarter.

Revenue for the quarter totaled $1.68 billion, up 27 percent from $1.33 billion in the year prior quarter.  Net income grew to $437.3 million, or $8.39 per share, from $352.4 million, or $6.88 per share, in Q2 2012.  Non-GAAP earnings, which exclude non-recurring items, were $508.3 million, or $9.70 per share, versus $404.6 million, or 7.85 per share, in last year’s quarter.

Wall Street was expecting non-GAAP profit of $9.38 per share on revenue of $1.65 billion.

Norwalk, Connecticut-based Priceline, the biggest online travel agency in the U.S. by market cap, said that gross travel bookings rose by 38 percent compared to the second quarter last year to $10.1 billion.  In spite of the poor state of economies in many EU countries, international bookings rose 44 percent from $5.95 billion in the second quarter last year to $8.58 billion this year.  Domestic bookings improved from $1.38 billion to $1.54 billion.

Gross profit increased 38 percent to $1.38 billion, with international operations contributing $1.2 billion of total gross profits.

The gains were broad-based against last year’s quarter.  Hotel room nights sold climbed 38.2 percent.  Rental car days sold increased by 46.3 percent.  The number of airline tickets sold rose by 1.8 percent.

“The Group's international and domestic businesses performed well in the quarter as the summer travel season got off to a strong start for our brands,” said Jeffery H. Boyd, chairman and chief executive of Priceline. “We are particularly pleased by the Group's steady hotel room night growth and improving rental car unit growth, and with the growing momentum at the U.S. business of priceline.com.”

Looking ahead, the company sees adjusted profit in the range of $15.30 to $16.30 per share and a 23 to 30 percent increase in revenue compared to Q3 last year.  That implies a range of $2.1 - $2.2 billion.  The outlook was in line with analyst forecast of EPS of $15.84 on sales of $2.19 billion.

Shares of PCLN are ahead holding ahead more than 5 percent at $981 one hour into action.  Shares are now up more than 50 percent so far in 2013.

[Image via Flickr]

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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
COLFF Colabor Group Inc Ord 0.52 0.00 0.65 2,034
PCLN The Priceline Group Inc. 1,453.49 6.34 0.44 471,871

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