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Why Priceline Plucked Kayak

"Kayak enhances Priceline's technology prowess, and provides another brand to acquire customers," wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler, in a note released on Friday. "The multiple is expensive, and we are somewhat confused on the timing, but we are generally optimistic on the combination possibilities."

Deutsche Bank has a buy rating and $800 price target on Priceline.

Kayak went public in July after earning a reputation as a valuable resource for travelers.

Underlining Kayak's success, the Norwalk, Conn.-based firm reported strong third-quarter results after market close on Thursday. Kayak posted revenue of $78.6 million, comfortably above analysts' forecast of $77.36 million. Excluding items, Kayak earned 26 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 19 cents a share.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Naved Khan agreed that Priceline has made a shrewd move by grabbing Kayak, describing the company as a "valuable meta search asset" that can be built out globally. Meta search refers to search engines that search other search engines, an increasingly popular technology in the online travel space as consumers trawl multiple Web sites for the best deals.

As for the broader implications of the deal, Khan sees the acquisition as a "headline negative" for Kayak's partner Expedia (EXPE - Get Report), but adds that this is unlikely to have a material impact.

The analyst has a buy rating and $750 price target on Priceline.

Priceline's purchase of Kayak is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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