Major Acquisition for Priceline.com

Priceline.com has acquired Bookings B.V. in a cash transaction valued at approximately €110 million, or US$133 million.  The deal follows priceline.com’s recent acquisition of Cambridge-based Active Hotels in September 2004.
In total, Bookings B.V. and Active Hotels have negotiated exclusive rates with almost 18,000 properties, which the companies believe is more than any other European Internet hotel reservation service.  Priceline.com said it intends to retain Bookings’ current management team, which will continue to manage Bookings as part of the Priceline.com Europe portfolio.  Priceline.com also said that Bookings’ six top executives reinvested a portion of the acquisition proceeds back into the Bookings business.

Bookings works with a range of chain- and independently owned hotels across Europe and in major cities around the world.  Established in 1996, the company has approximately 130 full-time employees and offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Pisa.  Bookings’ customer service team offers its services in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.

“Bookings’ management and employee teams have built a rapidly growing business in continental Europe, with a geographic reach and supplier- and customer-friendly model that we believe nicely complements Active Hotel’s business,” said priceline.com President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffery H. Boyd.  “Bookings CEO Stef Norden will work with Andrew Phillipps, CEO of Priceline Europe, to help secure their market leadership and provide great value for all priceline.com customers, including consumers, hotels and our partner web sites.”

Stef Norden, CEO of Bookings, commented on the acquisition, “This deal will benefit our customers, suppliers and distribution partners, and our employees.  We believe that the additional demand from working with priceline.com and Active Hotels will enable us to provide extra business for our suppliers; and distribution partners and customers will benefit from access to additional hotel supply.  In the context of a larger European business, there should also be additional opportunities for our staff.”

Bookings’ gross travel bookings for the 12 months ended June 30, 2005 are expected to be approximately US$225 million, up approximately 110% year-over-year.  Bookings’ revenues for the 12 months ended June 30, 2005 are expected to be approximately US$25 million, up approximately 100% year over year.  Gross bookings refer to the total dollar value, inclusive of taxes and fees, of all hotel room nights purchased by consumers, based on current foreign exchange rates.  Priceline.com said that it expected the acquisition to be accretive to its earnings (before non-cash amortization expense associated with the acquisition) for the 2nd half of 2005 and for calendar year 2006.

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