NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Priceline's (PCLN) Chief Executive Officer Darren Huston said that he is open to exploring new acquisitions following the company's $2.6 billion purchase of OpenTable in July.
Considering the majority of Priceline's growth over the years has come from similar acquisitions such as Booking.com and Kayak.com, it would be fitting if the company pursued the increasingly popular online travel company TripAdvisor (TRIP) as a potential complement to its existing portfolio.
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While Huston stressed that Priceline would be selective in any deals that it pursues, an acquisition of TripAdvisor would make the most sense given the company's breadth and the depth of its research. For example, as of the third quarter of 2014, TripAdvisor had nearly 200 million reviews and opinions on more than 4.4 million places to stay, places to eat and things to do. This includes more than 890,000 hotels and accommodations and approximately 650,000 vacation rentals, 2.4 million restaurants and 480,000 attractions in 145,000 destinations throughout the world.
Moreover, with nearly 315 million monthly unique visitors, TripAdvisor accounts for more than 10% of all global Internet traffic to travel-related websites. Approximately 50% of these visitors were using mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. So there are significant growth opportunities in this rapidly growing segment of the market -- especially through the company's other recently acquired apps, including Jetsetter, SeatGuru and GateGuru.
In fact, while speaking with CNBC's David Faber, President and CEO of TripAdvisor Steve Kaufer was quoted as saying "It's still Expedia (EXPE) or Priceline or a hotel chain or an individual property that we hope to power the transaction, so it's still those folks that are sending the confirmation email. They're still talking to them for customer service, but we want to make the experience just that much better -- be it on TripAdvisor on your phone or on your desktop."
Through either an all-out acquisition or a partnership, it would likely make sense for Priceline and TripAdvisor to consider an agreement. What's more, compared to rival Expedia, Priceline's significantly larger size and capital resources would make for a better partnership than before TripAdvisor's spin-off from Expedia in 2011.
Although TripAdvisor has hit some speed bumps recently -- mostly due to increasing costs associated with the company's transition to metasearch -- shares have been unjustly punished, falling from highs near $110 to current levels around $75.