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logoArgusMarch 15, 2021

Booking Holdings Inc.: Maintaining HOLD following 4Q results

Consumer Cyclical
Current Price
Price Target
Earnings Estimate

Booking Holdings Group offers a variety of online booking services, including airline tickets, car rentals, cruises, hotel rooms and vacations. Customers can choose to purchase travel services in the usual price-disclosed manner or through Name Your Own Price (which permits customers to bid for travel services at discount prices). Booking Holdings operates in Europe, North America, South America, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa. The company's, Agoda (international) and Booking (U.S.) brands enable customers to reserve hotel rooms anywhere in the world. More than 80% of bookings are international (primarily in Europe). In the U.S., Name Your Own Price enables customers to use online bidding to save money on products and services, while allowing businesses to generate additional revenue. Customers can use the service to buy airline tickets, book hotel rooms, and reserve rental cars. In August 2014, Booking Holdings increased its investment in Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency. Through a convertible bond offering, Booking Holdings invested $500 million in Ctrip and acquired the right to purchase up to 10% of that company's shares. In July 2014, Booking Holdings paid $2.6 billion in cash to acquire OpenTable, which provides restaurant reservations online in the U.S. and internationally. In May 2013, it paid $2.1 billion in stock and cash to acquire KAYAK Software Corp. KAYAK searches travel sites to obtain the lowest hotel room and airline ticket prices. In 2012, the company paid $109 million for TravelJigsaw, a provider of rental car services in Europe. In 2007, it acquired Agoda, an online travel company offering hotel bookings in Asia, for $158 million. We think that management's efforts to expand its services and diversify geographically have enabled the company to gain market share over the past five years. Although some of its competitors entered Europe before Booking Holdings, savvy acquisitions have, in our opinion, enabled the company to become a leader in the European market.

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Analyst Profile

John D. Staszak, CFA

Securities Analyst: Consumer Discretionary & Consumer Staples
John's specialty at Argus includes the gaming, lodging and restaurant groups within the Consumer Discretionary sector. John earned an MBA from the University of Texas and a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. In the financial services industry, he has worked as an analyst and consultant for firms including Standard & Poor's, the Bank of New York, Harris Nesbitt Gerard and Merrill Lynch. John is a CFA charterholder. Forbes magazine named John as the second-best stock picker among restaurant analysts in 2006. He was also ranked the second-best analyst covering the restaurant sector by the Wall Street Journal in 2007, a year in which a Financial Times/StarMine survey also ranked John that same way. In 2008, the Journal again listed John as an award winner, with a third-best designation among hotel industry analysts and a fifth-best designation among restaurant analysts.