NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN) are slightly higher in pre-market trade after the online travel company and Shanghai-based Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (CTRP) announced that they expanded an existing commercial agreement to strengthen their global partnership.
The Priceline Group also agreed to invest $500 million through a convertible bond and Ctrip has granted The Priceline Group permission to acquire Ctrip shares in the open market over the next twelve months, so that combined with shares convertible under the bond, The Priceline Group may hold up to 10% of Ctrip's outstanding shares.
Upon purchase of the convertible bond, The Priceline Group will acquire the right to appoint an observer to the Ctrip board of directors.
Shares of Ctrip.com are up 9.29% to $66.06 in pre-market trade.
TheStreet Ratings team rates PRICELINE GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate PRICELINE GROUP INC (PCLN) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 0.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- Although PCLN's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 5.14, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
- Powered by its strong earnings growth of 31.30% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 41.88% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, PCLN should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- PRICELINE GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 31.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, PRICELINE GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $36.01 versus $27.71 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($52.31 versus $36.01).
- The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Internet & Catalog Retail industry average. The net income increased by 35.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $244.27 million to $331.22 million.You can view the full analysis from the report here:PCLN Ratings Report