NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jim Cramer fills his blog on RealMoney every day with his up-to-the-minute reactions to what's happening in the market and his legendary ahead-of-the-crowd ideas. This week he blogged on:
- ThePriceline-OpenTable deal, and
- Why he urges caution before trading on Iraq.
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Priceline-OpenTable Is All About Mobile
Posted at 12:53 p.m. EST on Friday, June 13, 2014
It's all about the handheld. That's all I can say about this whopper of a deal announced this morning, Priceline (PCLN) to buy OpenTable (OPEN) for $103. First, let me just say that I have been effusive in praising both companies, because both represent the model I most like, companies based on the modern-day convenience of technology.
Priceline allows you to fly and book hotels at the lowest rates. It is a beloved system and a very cheap stock, in part because Americans, including the analyst community, don't understand it. The stock sells at 20x earnings, despite some of the best growth of any company I follow. It's got a ratings system it bought in May 2013, Kayak, that allows you to see how a hotel or a restaurant is regarded by real users, although it is mainly used for hotels and inns.
I have liked OpenTable because CEO Matt Roberts, a frequent guest of "Mad Money," has designed a product that is a gift to users and customers alike. OpenTable is the de facto restaurant reservation system for the world. Customers love it because before they go out, they can check the menu of a restaurant to see if it suits them, and then they can get a table online at the time of their choice. If they can't, they will go to another restaurant. They will never again show up at a restaurant and be turned down, and if they don't like what's on the menu, they have no excuse.
Restaurateurs love it because the banes of their existences are banished. First, nothing is worse than an a table left open for the night, something I know well at Bar San Miguel, my small-plate restaurant in Brooklyn that doesn't take reservations. You have a deadweight loss, kind of like the deadweight loss that an airline has if it doesn't fill a seat, or a hotel if it doesn't fill a room. That's exactly what Priceline does for those two industries.
Second, I know from Danny Meyer, the noted restaurant guru who wrote Setting the Table, still one of the best business books I have ever read, that OpenTable makes it so you have far fewer cancellations. Danny, who is on the board of Open Table, says one of the reasons he likes the product so much is that people often make reservations but then if they can't make it, they don't cancel. However, if a reservation is made through OpenTable, a person can cancel easily without having the hassle of dealing with a manager who typically is none too happy to learn of the cancellation, which is why the non-patron is so anxious and doesn't cancel on the phone.