Expedia Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income fell 31% from a
year earlier to $55.2 million, as costs rose faster than revenue.
The company missed Wall Street's earnings and revenue estimates, and its
shares plunged to a two-year low in after-hours trading on Thursday. Shares
fell almost 20% to about $100, its lowest price since February 2016.
Expedia said revenue growth at its HomeAway division slowed
as the vacation-rentals service transitioned to a transaction-based model from
a subscription-based model. HomeAway's year-over-year revenue growth slowed to
16% in the fourth quarter from 45% in the third quarter, while travel search
engine Trivago's revenue slowed to 18% from 22%.
Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom, who succeeded longtime chief
Dara Khosrowshahi last August, said on a conference call with analysts Thursday
afternoon that last year "didn't end up as we planned from a financial
perspective." He did add that the company was "now firmly in
Expedia's revenue rose 11% to $2.32 billion, missing the
average analyst estimate of $2.36 billion. Fourth-quarter bookings rose 14% to
$19.8 billion, as growth in hotel room nights advanced 15%.
The company boosted its spending on headcount as well as
cloud-computing technology. Technology and content expenses rose 15% from a
year earlier, while selling and marketing costs rose 14%.
Okerstrom said Expedia will see positive results from its
cloud investments during the second half of 2018 in the form of hotel room night
growth. He added that the company is investing aggressively to boost business
in Europe and Asia.
He also said HomeAway's fourth-quarter revenue growth wouldn't
be typical, and that revenue growth would accelerate.