Priceline.com to Start U.K. Web Site for Air Tickets

London—Priceline.com Inc., the Internet bidding service, will start a Web site in the U.K. at the end of this month that only will sell airline tickets, said Dennis Malamatinas, chief executive of Priceline.com Europe.


The company plans to expand the Web site with other products and in other European countries beginning in January, said Malamatimas in an interview at the U.K. Internet summit in London. Priceline.com will run online advertisements to promote the U.K. Web site in November and December, he said.
``We’ll do a soft launch in the U.K. first and then the full blown site in January,’’ Malamatinas said. ``We’ll have most U.S. and European airlines.’’
Priceline.com is expanding overseas even though it’s facing difficulties in the U.S. The company said last week that WebHouse Club, an affiliated company that sells gasoline and groceries on Priceline.com’s Web site, is going out of business. Last month, Priceline.com said third-quarter revenue would miss analysts’ estimates because of disappointing airline-ticket sales.
Priceline.com Europe will start an advertising campaign on television and in print to promote the company’s brand name in January, Malamatinas said.
Malamatinas, a former director of Diageo Plc and chief executive of the liquor company’s Burger King Corp. unit, joined London-based Priceline.com Europe six weeks ago.
``I’m having a lot of fun,’’ Malamatinas said.
Shares of Priceline.com, based in Norwalk, Connecticut, fell 1.34 to 5.44 in Nasdaq trading. The stock has dropped 93 percent the past year.

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