Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Is Inc (PCLN) Really as Great as the Market Thinks?

It’s easy to be bearish about Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN). The online travel website has had a staggeringly successful series of years, but this might lead some to worry that it has reached its peak. After all, as the saying goes, what goes up must come down. Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN)

But upon closer examination, it becomes clear that Priceline has a stalwart financial engine supporting its $800+ share price. Let’s see exactly what makes this company tick, and why its stock market triumphs aren’t just dumb luck.

Today hotels… tomorrow the world! Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) doesn’t just want to simplify the process of picking a hotel. This company wants to take over the very concept of travel, and be the only stop for anything you might need on a trip. Cheap flight? Done. Rental car? Bingo. Affordable hotel room that isn’t covered in vermin? Check and double check.

Becoming a synonym for “cheap travel” is a tall order to fill, but so far Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) has successfully done so, thanks in part to a number of well-timed expansions and mergers. Since its inception in 1998, the company has broadened its scope of influence to include, hotel booking website, and According to Priceline’s 10-K, has generated the majority of the company’s international sales, which tally up to a whopping 92% of Priceline’s consolidated operating income. That’s pretty impressive.

As far as mergers go, Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) is no stranger to swallowing up its competition. The company most recently inked a deal to buy rival travel website Kayak for $1.8 billion. Kayak’s popular search engine, which aggregated travel results from other websites into one list, is an excellent asset for Priceline to have, as it will help make the company’s search capabilities even more efficient.

To thine own financial statements be true
Since 2008, Priceline has seen its annual revenue shoot up an astounding 174%, while still maintaining dazzling profit margins. The company’s operating margin for 2012 was 34%, up from 32% the year before. Not only is Priceline raking in major revenue, but its operations are efficient enough that the company can take a healthy percentage of that money as profit.

Additionally, Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) has seen its free cash flow increase by a whopping 482% since 2008. The company brought in more than $1.7 billion in cash last year, which certainly helped make the Kayak merger possible. Despite these epic financial stats, Priceline’s P/E is still a relatively modest 28. That may be more than the industry average of 11.99, but rival Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) looks bloated by comparison at 45.06. Priceline’s ability to keep a healthy portion of its earnings as profits keeps its P/E from similarly shooting into the stratosphere.

Care to check in? Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) has made itself worth a ton of money by offering the cheapest deals available. Despite its remarkable price, the company’s P/E is still not overblown, and its margins and cash are more than healthy. It may seem crazy for an online travel company to be worth more than $800 a share, but Priceline has the financial guts and business sense to back up a spectacular share price.

The article Is Really as Great as the Market Thinks? originally appeared on and is written by Caroline Bennett.

Fool contributor Caroline Bennett has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Priceline. The Motley Fool owns shares of Priceline.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.