Priceline promotes Huston to CEO; 3Q profit grows

Sunday - 11/10/2013, 5:50pm EST

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) -- Priceline Group is promoting one of its executives to CEO, taking over from Jeffery Boyd.

Boyd, who has been CEO since 2002, will remain the travel website's chairman.

Priceline said Thursday that Darren Huston, 47, will take over as CEO and president and join the board on Jan. 1. He's currently head of hotel reservation service booking.com, a unit of Priceline. The company also operates its namesake site, travel search service kayak, rentalcars.com and Asia-based hotel reservation service agoda.com.

The Norwalk, Conn., company said that its profit rose 40 percent in the third quarter to $833 million, or $15.72 per share, as bookings for flights, rental cars and hotels rose and ad sales increased. Profit came to $596.6 million, or $11.66 per share, in last year's July-September quarter.

Excluding the impact of stock-based pay and one-time items, Priceline's earnings amounted to $17.30 per share for the latest quarter. Revenue rose 33 percent to $2.27 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $16.22 per share on revenue of $2.21 billion.

The value of hotels, airfare and other bookings customers made through Priceline's websites rose 38 percent to $10.8 billion.

Growth was strong during the summer travel season, Boyd said in a statement.

For the current quarter, Priceline expects profit, excluding one-time items, of $7.80 to $8.30 per share, below analysts' average estimate of $8.33 per share.

Shares fell $11.89, or 1.1 percent, to $1,011 in after-hours trading. The stock closed down 3.3 percent to $1,022.89 in regular trading Thursday, up 65 percent this year.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.