The online travel firm's chairman, Barry Diller, also joined the chorus of corporate leaders uncertain of when better days may come.
"The story of 2008 -- and 2009 for that matter -- is clearly the global recession and its impact on nearly every sector of our economy," said Diller in a press release. "When we emerge from this downturn is anyone's guess, but what certainly is not a guess is Expedia's global leadership in travel and our conservative management, both of which will allow us to weather a downturn of almost any length and come out stronger than when this mess began."
That's quite an optimistic finish for a guy who just wrote down $3 billion of his company's value.
The writedown threw a $2.76 billion loss on the company's books for the fourth quarter. Excluding that item, Expedia earned $64.9 million, or 22 cents a share, missing Wall Street estimates by 2 cents.
Due to the size of the charge, Expedia said it amended a credit agreement to replace its tangible net worth covenant with a minimum interest coverage covenant. As a result, several financial covenant levels were tightened, and pricing on the company's borrowings increased by 200 basis points.
Fourth-quarter revenue declined 6.7% to $620.8 million, missing analysts' consensus estimate of $631.1 million.
Shares of Expedia were recently down 92 cents, or 10.8%, to $7.61.
Gross bookings fell 11% in the fourth quarter, including a 13% drop in North America.
The dollar's strength also nipped at Expedia's results. The company said revenue would have risen 0.7% if not for a foreign-exchange hit, particularly the depreciation of the euro, British pound and Canadian dollar. The company expects it will also feel pain in the first quarter from year-over-year declines in those currencies.
Expedia's free cash flow, its cash from operating activities minus capital expenditures, held roughly flat at a negative $287.6 million. For the entire fiscal year, however, free cash flow fell to $360.8 million from $625.4 million.
Despite the rough macro-economic outlook affecting all companies, Expedia's results don't stack up well against those of
, which late Wednesday posted a fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates, with revenue growth of 21.2% and a bookings increase of 23%.
Priceline was up nearly 17% in recent trading to $80.29.