11 FEB 2019: Expedia has been in the news for a number of reasons over the past week.  The company filed a lawsuit over a contract dispute with United Airlines.  It stopped selling airline tickets for Venezuela over political unrest, and fourth quarter results beat expectations for the online travel agency.

United Airlines dispute

Last week Expedia said that United Airlines is threatening to pull flight information from its sites after a breakdown in talks over a new contract.

Expedia sued United and asked a federal judge to block the airline from cutting Expedia's access to information about seats and fares. The companies' current contract expires this fall.

In a heavily redacted complaint, Expedia said it would lose customers for years if United carried through on its threat.

United Airlines spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said Expedia has refused to take part in “constructive discussions” about a new contract, and United expects its fares won't be listed on Expedia sites after Sept. 30. She said that because Expedia might not be able to help United ticket holders after that date, United told Expedia it plans to bar Expedia from booking tickets for United flights on or after Oct. 1.

Political unrest in Venezuela

Expedia stopped selling airline tickets for Venezuela amid recent political turmoil, further isolating the socialist-run country after years of declining flight service. Orbitz did the same.

On Thursday, it was impossible to find any Venezuelan cities in the drop-down list of booking options for hotels and flights to the South American country on their websites.

The Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia Gorup said that the company was acting on behalf of travellers' wellbeing and in accordance with recent travel advice by foreign governments about crime and civil unrest.

Stock prices

Expedia shares jumped $9.13, or 7 percent, to $137 in extended trading Thursday after losing a penny in the regular session. At Thursday's close, the stock had gained 13.5 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nearly 9 percent.

Expedia said that fourth-quarter adjusted profit was $1.18 per share, topping the $1.07 average forecast of 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $2.56 billion. Eleven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.54 billion.

About two-thirds of Expedia sales come from booking lodging on hotel sites, and that revenue grew 10 percent.

Growth in the vacation-rental segment HomeAway (a competitor to Airbnb) slowed to 20 percent in the fourth quarter but grew 29 percent for the full year.

Airline revenue rose 18 percent, as Expedia sold more tickets and at higher average prices.



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