Expedia beats Wall Street view, shares rise

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 30, 2015 4:35 PM

(Reuters) - Expedia Inc on Thursday posted a second-quarter profit above analysts' expectations and announced a larger dividend as travel bookings grow, sending its shares up more than 7 percent in after-market trade.

Expedia, which became the world's largest online travel services company by bookings in the first quarter, earned $449.6 million in the second quarter. On an adjusted basis, it earned $118.6 million, or 89 cents per share, compared to analysts' average estimate of 84 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which owns the website that bears its name as well as Hotels.com, Hotwire and a host of other brands, said its board of directors approved a 33 percent rise in its September dividend to 24 cents per share.

Its revenue increased 11 percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier.

Gross bookings rose 19 percent, in large part from growth at Expedia.com and Hotels.com, the company said.

Of this, U.S. domestic gross bookings increased 18 percent. International gross bookings, totaling $5.8 billion, grew 25 percent, or 44 percent when accounting for sales shrinking abroad in U.S. dollar terms.

Expedia and rival Priceline Group Inc have embarked on acquisition sprees to dominate the online travel business, with Expedia recently buying Travelocity and announcing plans to purchase Orbitz Worldwide Inc.

Expedia's Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said the company had no significant news to share on the Orbitz transaction, under review by the U.S. Justice Department. Expedia believes the deal should close in the "back half of the year," he said.

Media reported Thursday that the deal will be cleared by the end of August; Reuters could not immediately verify the report. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee also on Thursday called on the regulator to closely scrutinize the proposed transaction, warning that industry consolidation could stifle competition and hurt consumers.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bernard Orr)