Today Booking.com, an operating business of Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) announced its support of recent decisions by the National Competition Authorities in France, Italy and Sweden to accept amendments to Booking.com’s parity commitments in respect of hotels located in those countries.
Under the new commitments, Booking.com will abandon its price, availability and booking conditions parity provisions with respect to other online travel agencies. This will create an environment that supports increased transparency and competition among online travel agencies which will ultimately benefit consumers, as well as hoteliers, by encouraging the freedom for properties to offer different pricing and booking policies (e.g. free cancellation, WIFI, breakfast) through different online travel agencies.
The commitments do allow Booking.com to retain its “narrow MFNs” for prices and booking conditions which will ensure hotels offer the same rates and booking conditions on Booking.com as they do through their own direct website. Furthermore, the commitments do allow Booking.com to require a minimum allocation, or some availability, from hotels. This assurance of being able to offer competing prices and being able to offer rooms allows Booking.com to continue to provide consumers a coveted and valuable service that delivers transparency, access to information, choice, value and a seamless experience for consumers, and also allows Booking.com to continue to serve as a highly cost-effective marketing channel for hotels, by helping the hotels to market and promote their property to consumers around the world, reach new subsets of travelers and ultimately fill their rooms to keep their businesses growing.
“Our business and teams are driven by one goal, which is to deliver an amazing, unrivaled experience to our global customers who use us to find and book accommodations in a simple, convenient and trustworthy way, both here in Europe and around the world,” said Darren Huston, CEO of Booking.com. “We welcome and encourage fair competition in the marketplace because competition drives innovation, efficiencies, and most importantly, greater value for consumers. We believe today’s decisions represent a continued, coordinated effort to promote competition in a way that supports innovation and encourages companies like ours to continue to invest in the capacity and technical solutions that ultimately result in more customers for our partners and more tourism across Europe and abroad.”
Booking.com intends to implement these commitments throughout the European Economic Area and is working with all other European National Competition Authorities towards this objective. Booking.com trusts that its commitments will set the tone for an industry wide solution which all European NCAs will endorse and safeguard. (Original Source)
Shares of Priceline.com closed yesterday at $1191.42 . PCLN has a 1-year high of $1329.90 and a 1-year low of $990.69. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $1185.02 and its 200-day moving average is $1129.88.
On the ratings front, Priceline.com has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 6, Argus analyst John Staszak initiated coverage with a Buy rating on PCLN and a price target of $1480, which implies an upside of 24.2% from current levels. Separately, on March 31, Stifel Nicolaus’ Scott Devitt upgraded the stock to Buy and has a price target of $1400.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, John Staszak and Scott Devitt have a total average return of 16.7% and 15.7% respectively. Staszak has a success rate of 71.2% and is ranked #106 out of 3575 analysts, while Devitt has a success rate of 57.6% and is ranked #244.
In total, 3 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 23 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $1191.42 which is 16.1% above where the stock closed yesterday.
Priceline Group Inc is a provider of online travel and travel related reservation and search services. The Company offer consumers accommodation reservations through its Booking.com, priceline.com and agoda.com brands.