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Priceline Soars as Revenue Jumps 20%

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Priceline.com (PCLN - Get Report) shares jumped after the online travel company posted quarterly results that beat Wall Street expectations.

For the fourth quarter, Norwalk, Conn.-based Priceline earned $6.77 a share on $1.19 billion in revenue. Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting $6.54 a share on $1.18 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by Estimize were looking for $6.68 a share on $1.196 billion in sales.

"The Priceline Group finished 2012 with a strong 4th quarter showing improving unit growth in hotel room and rental car day reservations," said Jeffery H. Boyd, Chairman and CEO of The Priceline Group, in the press release. "International gross bookings growth of 43% on a local currency basis in the 4th quarter evidenced the resilience of the business in 2012 despite economic uncertainty in our core European market."

Priceline gave first-quarter guidance, saying it expects year-over-year revenue to increase between 17% and 24%. Revenue for the first quarter of 2012 was $1.037 billion. The company said gross profit will rise between 30% and 37% year over year, and it expects adjusted EBITDA to be between $316 million and $346 million, with non-GAAP earnings between $4.90 and $5.30 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Priceline to earn $5.14 a share on $1.23 billion in revenue.

Priceline did note that concerns of sovereign debt in Europe and the viability of the Euro are likely to impact future results, as they have in the past. "Given the uncertainty surrounding worldwide economic conditions, particularly in Europe where much of the Company's business is concentrated, the Company believes the variability around its guidance is elevated," Priceline said in its release.

Shares of Priceline closed the regular session up 1.03% to $678.49. The stock is moving sharply higher in extended-hours trading, up 5.45% to $715.50 according to Nasdaq.com.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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