Priceline Buys Dutch Firm

The company also expects second-quarter revenue of $265 million to $270 million.
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Online travel services provider


updated its guidance for the second half of the year to factor in the acquisition of Bookings B.V., an Amsterdam-based Internet hotel reservation service the company has bought for $133 million.

For the second quarter, Priceline expects gross travel bookings to be in the range of $566 million to $570 million. Gross travel bookings refer to the total dollar value, including all taxes and fees, of the travel services purchased by consumers.

Second-quarter revenue should be $265 million to $270 million, and the company expects earnings before items of 36 cents to 40 cents a share.

In May, Priceline said it would earn 34 cents to 40 cents in the second quarter. The Norwalk, Conn., company now expects full-year earnings of $1.20 to $1.28 a share, excluding items, after previously having said it was comfortable with the consensus estimate of $1.21 for 2005.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expect a profit of 37 cents a share on sales of $274.6 million for the second quarter. Shares of Priceline were up 1 cent to $23.50 in after-hours trading.

Bookings B.V. and Active Hotels, which Priceline acquired last September, have negotiated exclusive rates with almost 18,000 properties. Bookings' current management team will be retained. Established in 1996, the company has about 130 full-time employees and offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Pisa.