NASDAQ-listed Priceline.com Inc, has acquired Bangkok- and Singapore-based online travel company Agoda Company, specialising in hotel discount bookings throughout Asia, in a transaction that includes an initial cash payment and a multi-year, performance-based earn-out.
Priceline said that it expected the acquisition to be neutral to slightly accretive to its pro forma earnings (before non-cash amortization expense associated with the acquisition) for calendar year 2008.
Priceline operates leading US online travel service for value-conscious leisure travellers priceline.com and international online hotel reservation service Booking.com.
Priceline says it plans to retain Agoda''''s current management team to continue to manage Agoda''''s operations independently as part of priceline''''s international business.
Agoda is priceline third international acquisition, since its acquisition in 2004, of Cambridge-based online hotel reservation service Active Hotels followed in 2005 by the Amsterdam-based hotel service Bookings B V.
The two services have since been merged into a single, new online hotel reservation service, Booking.com. Priceline believes that Booking.com is Europe''''s largest and fastest growing online hotel reservation service, operating in over 60 countries in 16 languages, with access to approximately 38,000 participating hotels worldwide.
In the Asia Pacific region, Agoda offers hotel properties in Australia, China, Japan, India, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Zealand and several other countries. In addition, Agoda offers hotels in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. Agoda''''s services are offered in 12 languages. In addition to its transactional offerings, Agoda maintains a broad suite of content features, including customer hotel reviews, travel tips, journals and other user-generated content.
"We believe that Agoda, while relatively small today, will be an important part of priceline.com''''s expansion into Asia," said priceline.com president and chief executive officer Jeffery H. Boyd. "With priceline.com''''s expertise, worldwide hotel inventories and customer demand, we see an opportunity to leverage Agoda and offer the most complete and compelling inventory and content to customers traveling in Asia."
"Online travel is still a relatively nascent industry in many Asian countries," said Glenn Fogel, priceline.com''''s managing director, corporate development and international. "However, we believe the time is right for priceline.com to begin growing our presence in the Asia Pacific region, and Agoda gives us the ability to do so with a team of skilled professionals on the ground in this important region."
"Agoda''''s mission is to make booking hotels in Asia easy and affordable for customers around the globe," said Agoda''''s chief executive officer Michael Kenny. "We are very excited to be part of the priceline.com team that shares our same commitment to customers. We believe that the emerging markets of Asia, where Agoda is based, are particularly promising as Internet usage, credit card adoption and domestic economies continue to grow."
Agoda''''s gross bookings for 2007 year to date through 31 October 2007 were approximately $36 million, an increase of 122 per cent over a year ago. Gross bookings refer to the total dollar value inclusive of taxes and fees of all hotel room nights purchased by consumers.