|Bid||110.94 x N/A|
|Ask||111.26 x N/A|
|Day's range||111.80 - 111.92|
|52-week range||84.64 - 126.52|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.01|
|PE ratio (TTM)||29.69|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.26 (1.11%)|
|Ex-dividend date||09 Mar 2020|
|1y target est||N/A|
Nov.07 -- Mark Okerstrom, Expedia Group Inc. chief executive officer, discusses the company's third-quarter earnings and the outlook for its home-sharing division, Vrbo. He speaks with Bloomberg's Vonnie Quinn and Guy Johnson on "Bloomberg Markets."
(Bloomberg) -- Expedia Group Inc. gave a 2020 profit forecast for “double-digit” growth, topping analysts’ estimates and suggesting the company will be able to maintain bookings in the face of slowing global travel demand caused by the spreading coronavirus. Shares gained more than 10% in extended trading.The online travel giant reported revenue gained 7.3% to $2.75 billion in the fourth quarter, just missing the $2.77 billion analysts’ projected. Gross bookings climbed 5.9% to $23.2 billion in the period ended Dec. 31, the Seattle-based company said Thursday in a statement.Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $478 million, beating the analysts’ average estimate of $451.6 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“We are not providing a specific guidance range given uncertainty on how much cost savings we’ll recognize this year and the full effect of coronavirus,” Chairman Barry Diller and vice chairman Peter Kern said in the statement. “However, taking these factors into account, we expect 2020 Adjusted EBITDA growth to be in the double-digits.”The pair said they were targeting $300 million to $500 million in “run-rate cost savings across our business.”Diller said the company will streamline and simplify the business. “For several years we have really lost clarity and discipline,” he said on a conference call with analysts. “We were a bloated organization.”Shares jumped to a high of $124.25 in extended trading after closing at $110.59 in New York. The stock has dropped 13% in the past 12 months.The recent outbreak of the coronavirus, known as Covid-19, which originated in China and has spread to more than 20 countries, is battering hospitality companies from airlines to hotels to cruise operators as tourists cancel trips and businesses shutter events. The virus will dent the company’s bottom line by $30 million to $40 million in the current period, executives said on the call. However, Diller conceded the economic impact is difficult to predict.“We don’t truly know the extent of it,” Diller said, adding shortly after that he believes “it will go beyond Asia.”The health crisis is one of several challenges facing the company since Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom and Chief Financial Officer Alan Pickerill were ousted in December after clashing with the board over prospects for growth. Diller said the company isn’t hunting for a new CEO. Instead, the 78-year-old billionaire media mogul will remain in control of the company’s day-to-day operations, along with Kern, for the foreseeable future -- but not beyond 2020.“I haven’t been on one of these analyst calls in endless amount of time so I’m probably a bit draggy,” said Diller, who is chairman and founder of IAC/InterActiveCorp. “Having been chairman of Expedia for, I don’t know, I think 20 years or so, I thought I knew a lot about the company, but there is nothing like being on the ground. And we’ve been on the ground.”In November, Okerstrom lowered the outlook for 2019 earnings after missing analysts’ estimates in the third quarter. Expedia largely blamed Google, which has been cramming the top of its search results with more advertising, pushing down free listings from travel companies and forcing them to spend more on marketing.Diller said he has reached out to Google’s senior management, telling them “exactly what we feel about this. “I have implored them to stop actually taking away the profits from businesses that are one of the main contributors to their advertising revenue.”Diller called for the federal government to regulate Google, saying the new search engine optimization changes were an “existential issue” for online travel agencies. The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department already have announced broad antitrust reviews of the major tech companies, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google.Expedia has been squeezed by Airbnb Inc. and Booking Holdings Inc. in vacation home rentals -- the fastest growing sector of the travel market. Last year, the company revamped its short-term rental unit Vrbo to try to catch up with its rivals. Vrbo reported revenue growth of 13% in the fourth quarter to $259 million. The unit generates about 10% of Expedia’s total revenue, but analysts and investors focus on Vrbo because it represents the company’s best bet for growth.In the fourth quarter, net income rose to $76 million. Profit, excluding certain items, was $1.24 a share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.14.(Updates with coronavirus impact in the eighth paragraph; comments from chairman throughout.)To contact the reporter on this story: Olivia Carville in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Expedia (EXPE) delivered earnings and revenue surprises of 5.08% and -0.43%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 2019. Do the numbers hold clues to what lies ahead for the stock?
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Expedia Group Inc., TripAdvisor Inc. and eDreams Odigeo SA asked the European Union to investigate how Google shows vacation rentals, claiming it unfairly gets a prominent placing above other search results.In a letter to EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager published online, more than 30 travel firms allege that Google is “favoring its own service in general search results pages” by displaying ads “in a visually-rich OneBox” showing pictures, a map preview, ratings and prices. The display “secures Google’s service more user attention and clicks than any competing service may acquire.”Google was fined in 2017 for how it displayed product ads above search queries and told to offer similar placement to rival shopping comparison services. It will fight that EU decision at a three-day court hearing later this week. Dozens of companies have complained to the EU about how Google search shows competing search services. Regulators sought feedback last year on local search and jobs search services.Google said statement that it is testing a new format for specialized searches in Europe “where people might see a carousel of links to direct sites across the top of search results.”“This is designed to demonstrate the range of results available,” a spokesperson for the company said in an email. “Search results are designed to provide the most relevant information for your query.”The Financial Times reported on the letter earlier on Monday.To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Sandeep Mathrani knows what it’s like to lead a company out of trouble.His former employer, General Growth Properties, had been flattened by the economic recession of 2008. GGP, the second-biggest owner of shopping malls in America, named Mathrani as chief executive officer in 2011 as it was emerging from what was then the biggest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history.Six years later, Mathrani sold the business to Brookfield Property Partners LP in a deal valued at about $15 billion. The project won him a reputation as a corporate turnaround artist. “I’ve had plenty of opportunities and plenty of luck,” he said last year during an acceptance speech for a real estate industry award.That luck will surely be tested in his new job at WeWork. The troubled co-working company appointed Mathrani, 57, as CEO on Saturday. He’ll report to Marcelo Claure, the executive chairman at WeWork and operating chief at SoftBank Group Corp., WeWork’s majority owner. In a statement, Claure praised Mathrani’s “turnaround expertise.”Mathrani is a fixture in the clubby world of commercial real estate, but he also has some experience working with startups. At Brookfield, he led an investment in Industrious, a WeWork rival. “While real estate is full of some very dry, very conservative characters, Sandeep is very much not that,” said Jamie Hodari, co-founder and CEO of Industrious. “If WeWork wanted to bring in someone with serious real estate chops but who was a little closer to the WeWork spirit, he seems to fit that bill.”However, WeWork poses a very different challenge from the shopping center business. Adam Neumann, its larger-than-life co-founder, started WeWork in 2010 to rent trendy office spaces to companies and freelancers. He pitched it as a hybrid real estate and technology business, a “physical social network.”Investors bought into Neumann’s vision, giving him billions of dollars and mostly unchecked authority to set up offices around the world. SoftBank, a Japanese technology conglomerate, was the biggest believer and drove the valuation of the business up to $47 billion.But when they tried to take the parent company We Co. public last year, the plan quickly crumbled under scrutiny from Wall Street. WeWork was spending far more than it was generating in revenue and had a litany of apparent conflicts of interest with Neumann, who received loans from WeWork as it paid him rent on buildings he owned. WeWork pulled the IPO in September and agreed to sever ties with Neumann, netting him an exit package worth more than $1 billion. SoftBank said it would rescue the company by arranging about $9.5 billion in financing.The appointment of Mathrani has parallels to the situation at another unicorn startup once beset by crisis. Uber Technologies Inc., which also counts SoftBank as its largest shareholder, replaced its controversial co-founder with Dara Khosrowshahi in 2017. Khosrowshahi, an Iranian immigrant who rose to the top job at online travel provider Expedia Group Inc., was asked to tame Uber’s raucous workplace culture and its boom-or-bust financial model. Both CEOs were respected in their fields but largely unknown outside. And both had solid reputations as business operators capable of increasing profit at a steady pace and earning accolades from public investors.Mathrani was born into a wealthy family in India. In the early 1980s, his father sent him to the prestigious British boarding school Eton, but he soon left to attend public high school in suburban Philadelphia as an exchange student, Mathrani recounted during the 2019 awards ceremony speech. By age 20, he had earned engineering and business degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology, whose campus in Hoboken, New Jersey, overlooks the New York City skyline.His first foray into real estate came when he made $20,000 from flipping an apartment he’d bought for $55,000 two years earlier. For a young engineer, that was a lot of money, Mathrani said in the speech. “Wow, I made 20 grand, hallelujah,” he recalled thinking at the time. “Real estate is a good business!”Mathrani said he applied for whatever real estate jobs he could find. He was hired as a mall designer and began rising through the ranks. In 1994, he went to Forest City Ratner Cos., the development company owned at the time by real estate titan and former Brooklyn Nets owner Bruce Ratner, who would become one of Mathrani’s mentors, according to Women’s Wear Daily. In 2002, Mathrani joined Vornado Realty Trust, the largest owner of real estate in New York City, where he ran the company’s retail division.Eight years later, the call came to lead GGP. There, Mathrani had to overcome the aftershocks of the recession, a retail industry in decline and the sharp rise of Amazon.com Inc. Mathrani focused on high-end properties and courted internet-native brands like Warby Parker and Tesla Inc. to his malls. He was rewarded by becoming one of the highest-paid executives in real estate.In broadcast interviews and speeches, Mathrani is soft-spoken and understated. For the speech last year, he wore a plain suit, patterned tie and rimless glasses, his hair slightly out of place, looking the part of a college professor. He spoke about his fortune in life and finding success in America.In a statement, Mathrani said WeWork “has redefined how people and companies approach work with an innovative platform.” Under Mathrani, WeWork will refocus on office rentals and walk away from passion projects started by Neumann. It has sold business units and other holdings, including a large stake in female-focused co-working startup the Wing. WeWork also said it would terminate about 2,400 jobs.Staff morale at WeWork is low, and it’ll likely take years to get the company’s finances in order. A recent business plan set a target for positive cash flow by 2023. It could take even longer to change the company’s image in the minds of public investors.Mathrani’s role at WeWork is designed to complement Claure, a longtime telecommunications executive who was abruptly thrust into the WeWork debacle a few months ago when he was named chairman. Claure recently tweeted a photo of an inspirational message that he said reminded him of his first few days learning the real estate industry. The message read: “Be brave enough to suck at something new.”To contact the reporters on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ellen Huet in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Alistair Barr at email@example.com, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
INVESTIGATION REMINDER: The Schall Law Firm Announces it is Investigating Claims Against Expedia Group, Inc.
INVESTIGATION ALERT: The Schall Law Firm Announces it is Investigating Claims Against Expedia Group, Inc.
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc.’s former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick is stepping down from the board, severing his last ties to the company he co-founded a decade ago and helped become one of the world’s most valuable, and controversial, startups.Kalanick, 43, has sold all of his remaining shares in the ride-hailing giant and plans to focus on his new business and philanthropic endeavors.Along with co-founder Garrett Camp, Kalanick started Uber in 2009, building the company up from an experimental black car service in San Francisco to a global transportation and logistics company, offering food delivery, freight shipping, helicopter rides and ushering in a new era of work. But he was ousted as CEO in June 2017 following months of chaos and controversy. Detractors pointed to his aggressive and sometimes reckless management style as breeding a toxic workplace hostile to women and overseeing morally questionable company programs including some that intentionally deceived regulators and law enforcement agencies and spied on riders.“Uber has been a part of my life for the past 10 years,” Kalanick said in a statement Tuesday. “At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits.”For the past year, Kalanick has been building a new startup: CloudKitchens. The real estate company offers fully outfitted kitchens to restaurants that need more space to fulfill orders from take-out food services like DoorDash and UberEats. Along with using his own funds, Kalanick also raised $400 million from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.Following Kalanick’s departure as CEO, the board replaced him with Dara Khosrowshahi, a former executive of Expedia Inc., who has worked to rebuild the company’s reputation and promise to investors. Since its initial public offering in May – one of the worst IPOs this year -- Uber shares have cratered by more than 30%. They were up 1% at 12:04 p.m. in New York.With Kalanick fully separated from Uber now, Wedbush Securities analysts said it could help the stock, since his continued presence on the board was a “distraction.”“With ripping the band-aid off and Travis leaving stage left on the board, we believe now it’s about Dara & Co. taking Uber in the right direction for 2020 and beyond after a rough road so far,” wrote Wedbush analysts Ygal Arounian and Dan Ives, adding that the massive sell-off of shares following the Nov. 6 lockup expiry has also hurt the stock price.Kalanick has been steadily unloading his Uber shares in the past few weeks. He sold the remaining 5.8 million shares before resigning from the board Monday night, a spokeswoman said, for a grand haul of almost $3 billion, according to calculations by Bloomberg. Before the lockup expired, Kalanick held a 6% stake in Uber, which made him the firm’s largest individual shareholder. Softbank Group Corp. and Benchmark Capital are the company’s two largest institutional shareholders.Such a selldown is unusual among prominent tech tycoons. Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos still own sizeable stakes in their companies. Still, neither of them were ousted by a boardroom coup. And Kalanick’s sales mean he has plenty of financial firepower for his other projects. He created a fund called 10100 in March 2018, saying in a tweet it would focus on his “passions, investments, ideas and big bets.” The fund will handle Kalanick’s for-profit investments and philanthropy and plans to invest in real estate, e-commerce and emerging innovation in China and India, according to its website.“Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber,” Khosrowshahi said. “I’m enormously grateful for Travis’s vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member. Everyone at Uber wishes him all the best.”Kalanick’s departure from Uber’s board will be effective Dec. 31, according to a statement Tuesday. Uber’s 12-person board has steadily shrunk since the company went public in May and now will have four openings.(Updates with analyst comment in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Tom Metcalf and Sophie Alexander.To contact the reporter on this story: Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Robin Ajello, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Lolli, a plug-in that gives shoppers cash-back rewards in bitcoin, has added big names like Walmart, Macy's, Ulta, and Hilton. But that doesn't mean those companies are publicly supporting bitcoin.
(Bloomberg) -- Expedia Group Inc. said Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom and Chief Financial Officer Alan Pickerill resigned effective immediately after clashing with the board on the online travel agency’s direction. Barry Diller, board chairman, and vice chairman Peter Kern will take charge while the board looks for long-term leadership.“Ultimately, senior management and the board disagreed on strategy,” Diller, 77, said in a statement Wednesday.Earlier this year, Expedia undertook an “ambitious reorganization plan,” aiming to bring its various brands and technology together in a more efficient way. Diller said the move, “while sound in concept, resulted in a material loss of focus on our current operations,” leading to disappointing third-quarter results and a lackluster near-term outlook. The board disagreed with that outlook, Diller said, “strongly believing the company can accelerate growth in 2020.”Diller said he will buy additional shares in the company as a “tangible sign of my faith in and commitment to Expedia’s long-term future.” The stock jumped as much as 10% in New York, the most intraday in about a year and a half, to $109.32.Expedia has been plowing resources into its home-sharing division, Vrbo, to challenge rivals Airbnb Inc. and Booking Holdings Inc. in the booming market for alternative accommodation. Expedia has struggled recently, especially in the third quarter when earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations. The company largely blamed Google, which has been cramming the top of its search results with more advertising, pushing down free listings from travel companies and forcing them to spend more on marketing.Okerstrom said last month that Expedia now sees 2019 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization growth of 5% to 9%, down from a previous forecast for as much as 15% growth.Jake Fuller, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities LLC, said “it sounds to us like Okerstrom-Pickerill may have been getting ready to drop a disappointing 2020 Ebitda guide.” Fuller cut his Ebitda growth estimate to unchanged from a gain of 5% earlier this week. “We are left to wonder whether the two were pitching something worse than that to the board.”Okerstrom had been at Expedia for 13 years, serving previously as CFO before taking the top job in August 2017. The stock has declined about 38% since then. Okerstrom’s focus at the company had been expanding its hotel footprint internationally, according to Fuller, but the company fell flat in alternative accommodations, its biggest growth category. In the third quarter, Expedia’s short-term rental unit reported revenue growth of 14%, down from a 17% pace in the previous period.“The most logical strategic shift we can identify at this point would be getting back on track with VRBO,” Fuller wrote in a note to clients. “Alternative accommodations is a growth category and Expedia cannot afford to cede that space” to Airbnb and Booking.While Vrbo dominates the market in the U.S. for purely vacation-rentals, Airbnb and Booking capture a much larger share of the broader global $34 billion alternative accommodation market, which also includes non-traditional hotels and home sharing.Expedia also announced a new share repurchase authorization for 20 million shares of common stock, which is in addition to the 9 million shares available under the existing authorization.“The fact that Diller plans to buy stock and that Expedia increased the authorization are encouraging, but it will be hard to articulate a clear bull case in the near term withquestions over the 2020 outlook and no visibility on how Expedia may pivot under new leadership,” Fuller said.Eric Hart, Expedia’s chief strategy officer will serve as acting CFO.To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Schuetz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Billionaire Diller, who also chairs Expedia's former parent IAC/InterActiveCorp , said he will oversee the executive leadership team along with Vice Chairman Peter Kern until the board finds a replacement. "Ultimately, senior management and the board disagreed on strategy," Chairman Barry Diller said in a statement, adding that the company's reorganization plan launched earlier this year had led to disappointing third-quarter results and a "lackluster" near-term outlook. "The board disagreed with that outlook, as well as the departing leadership's vision for growth, strongly believing the Company can accelerate growth in 2020," Diller said.
(Bloomberg) -- Google’s moves to cram the top of its search results with more and more advertising is hammering the online travel industry, one of the company’s biggest customers.Expedia Group Inc. fell the most in 14 years on Thursday and TripAdvisor Inc. dropped the most in two years after the companies reported dismal third-quarter results and laid the blame on Google. Booking Holdings Inc.’s shares dropped 8%, too, wiping out a combined market value of more than $13 billion from the three online travel agents.Google dominates the online search market, with at least three quarters of the market. People use the search engine to research trips, so for at least a decade online travel agents have refined their websites with trustworthy content and easy booking tools to show up high in Google results.This search engine optimization, or SEO, worked well until about five years ago. Around that time, Google began placing more ads on the top of search results, pushing down the free listings. The internet giant also built new travel search tools, which were mostly paid listings, too. This means online travel agents now must pay billions of dollars each year to Google to ensure they show up high in search results and get clicks from travel planners.The online travel industry has been concerned about Google’s changes since at least 2016. But the full impact was felt this week.“Google has got more aggressive,” TripAdvisor Chief Executive Officer Stephen Kaufer said during a conference call with analysts late Wednesday. “We’re not predicting that it’s going to turn around.”Free traffic is “shrinking all the time,” Expedia Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom said the same day. “Google does continue to push for more revenue per visitor. And I think it’s just the reality of where the world is.”The industry has been trying other marketing channels, such as social media and more TV advertising. But Google’s search engine is so pervasive that online travel agents have to keep buying ads from the company to keep traffic coming to their sites.D.A. Davidson analysts wrote that Expedia is exploring alternatives to mitigate its “reliance on search/Google,” but they see “no alternatives that will be able to efficiently ‘move the needle’ from a volume perspective anytime soon.”Carnage in the online travel industry comes as antitrust scrutiny of Google is ramping up in the U.S. State, federal and congressional probes are all underway to determine whether the company violates competition law. One area of concern is vertical search, where Google uses its main search engine to promote its own industry-specific products over those of other companies. Travel is one example where this is happening, along with local search, contractor marketplaces like Angie’s List and shopping-comparison services.Google has been a rising risk for the travel industry for a while, but executives have been generally hesitant to blame it for poor results. The search giant is one of the most important sources of traffic and business for online travel agencies, so they have tried to maintain a good relationship. But this quarter, Google’s impact was so painful that industry executives and Wall Street analysts couldn’t avoid it.“We see these Google changes as a potential headwind to OTA profitability,” Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak said in a note to clients. This trend isn’t going away, and people who want to invest in the online travel sector should do it through Google stock, he added.Booking Holdings, the largest online travel agent, was peppered with questions about Google during a conference call with analysts on Thursday.Glenn Fogel, Booking’s chief executive officer, said the company’s future success will rely on reaching people without Google getting in the way.“What we know is most important is for us to get customers to come to us directly,” he said. Building brand strength and retaining customers better means the company “will not be as dependent on other sources of traffic,” he added.\--With assistance from Ryan Vlastelica, Olivia Carville and Ian King.To contact the reporters on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kiley Roache in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Expedia Group Inc. showed a decline in revenue growth at its vacation rental business in the third quarter, signaling slowed momentum in the travel giant’s fastest-growing category and leading to a lowered profit forecast for the year.Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia’s short-term rental unit reported revenue growth of 14% in the three months ended Sept. 30, to $467 million. That’s less than the 17% pace in the previous period and missed analysts’ estimates for $462.4 million. Total revenue grew 8.6% to $3.56 billion, in line with analysts’ estimates. As a result of “disappointing results” in the quarter, Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom lowered the company’s full-year outlook for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The shares fell about 13% in extended trading.Expedia has been plowing resources into its home-sharing division, Vrbo, in a bid to challenge rivals Airbnb Inc. and Booking Holdings Inc. in the booming market for alternative accommodation. While Vrbo dominates the market in the U.S. for purely vacation-rentals, Airbnb and Booking capture a much larger share of the broader global $34 billion alternative accommodation market, which also includes non-traditional hotels and home sharing.“We continue to be happy with the trends we are seeing at Vrbo and we continue to see growth rates in double digits,” Okerstrom said on a conference call. Expedia expects “continued muted growth rates” at Vrbo while it builds out the brand, which now suffers low visibility compared with its competitors. “Once we get past some changes, we will be able to return to growth rates we’re more satisfied with,” he said.Earlier this year, Expedia changed the vacation-rental division name to Vrbo, a moniker more familiar to Americans than the previous HomeAway label, which is more well-known in Europe.Okerstrom said Expedia now sees 2019 adjusted Ebitda growth of 5% to 9%, down from a previous forecast for as much as 15% growth.Vrbo only pulls in just over 10% of Expedia’s overall revenue, but analysts and investors focus on the division because it represents the company’s best bet for growth.Gross bookings for the travel giant climbed 9% to $26.9 billion. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization came in at $912 million, missing average analyst estimates of $973.3 million. Earnings per share were $3.38, excluding some items. Analysts, on average, estimated $3.77.(Updates with forecast in the sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Olivia Carville in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly Schuetz, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A day after Amazon.com Inc. disclosed one of the largest campaign contributions in a Seattle election, protesters gathered outside the company’s headquarters.Under a pair of tents set up to deflect a persistent drizzle, City Councilmember Mike O’Brien said Amazon’s $1.05 million contribution to a business-backed political-action committee was “potentially devastating to our democracy.” Matt Smith, an Amazon package handler, asked employees to join him in a rally rejecting the move.And Kshama Sawant, a councilmember who has made criticism of Amazon a staple of her re-election campaign, led the couple dozen politicians, staffers and supporters in a call-and-response.“When billionaires are on the attack, what do we do,” she shouted.“Stand up, fight back!”At the fringes of the audience, Amazon lobbyist Guy Palumbo said, “Lose.”As Seattle barrels toward its Nov. 5 council election, residents are sharply divided over how to address the challenges facing the city after years of torrid growth. On one side are candidates like Sawant, the socialist incumbent, who say big businesses like Amazon need to be taxed to fund a frayed social-safety net. On the other are people like her opponent, Egan Orion, who have won over companies and voters by pledging to take a more pragmatic approach to the city’s challenges.Amazon has intensified the debate by wading into the election like never before. The company was generally a reluctant player in city politics, even as it grew to occupy dozens of buildings and employ more than 50,000 people in its hometown.@amazon dumps record $$ into @SeattleCouncil races local democrats speak out against what they call big corporations/wealthy efforts to buy election, @CMLGonzalez says these corporate donors are anti tax, anti poor “says Seattle City Council not for sale” 973FM @KIRORadio pic.twitter.com/ZUteRnUh3a— Hanna Scott (@HannaKIROFM) October 17, 2019 But during this election cycle it has plowed a total of $1.5 million into the local chamber of commerce’s political action committee. At least 18 executives personally sent checks to Orion. Wayne Barnett, the executive director of Seattle’s Ethics and Elections Commission, said the company’s donation was the largest contribution in a city election that he could remember, eclipsing the $1.39 million the American Chemistry Council spent in 2009 over a tax on disposable shopping bags.The spending on the local races reflects the potential for a pushback from business as progressive politicians gain prominence nationally. It has also framed the election as a test of whether money from deep-pocketed companies will be effective in the face of a public wary of corporate influence in politics. U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have already criticized Amazon’s spending on the Seattle races as they vie for the Democratic presidential nomination.“It’s a message nationally that Amazon won’t be pushed around,” said Joni Balter, a longtime Seattle journalist who hosts Civic Cocktail, a city forum for policymakers and community members. But she added that it could backfire on the company. “This is a city of contrarians who don’t like stuff like that.”Seattle’s business revolt ignited last year as the city considered a tax on large employers to fund homeless services. After the measure passed in May 2018, Amazon helped lead a resistance that ultimately ended in the measure’s repeal a month later. Since then, the company has made several announcements about its intentions to expand in Bellevue, just east of Seattle.More than a year after that fight, Seattle is still struggling to rein in its homelessness crisis, and voters are getting impatient. In a recent poll, two-thirds of respondents said they were more likely to vote for candidates who want to change the council’s direction. That, along with a wide-open field in many races, unleashed a torrent of spending. Seven of the nine seats on council are up for grabs, and only three incumbents are running.Rachel Lauter, executive director of Working Washington, a labor group that campaigned for Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage, said Amazon’s donation “feels like a coordinated attack on government, generally.”“They are throwing down,” she said. “The question is what is this for, what do they really want. What the record shows is that they don’t want to pay taxes, they don’t want to see the city address labor standards for gig workers.”David Zapolsky, Amazon’s general counsel, said in an interview that the company is seeking a more pragmatic city government that would be open to input from business leaders, in addition to labor groups and citizens. “It’s important to have a city council where people feel comfortable going to city council without being shouted down or met with open hostility,” he said.While Amazon is by far the largest contributor to the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, several other businesses have given to the political action committee, including Expedia Group Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Vulcan Inc., a major local real estate developer and investment vehicle for the late Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen.Orion, an organizer of Seattle’s PrideFest, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the chamber’s spending, receiving about $285,000. But, so too, have candidates like police leader Jim Pugel and Heidi Wills, a former council member who was unseated in 2003.The money has shaped the race at a time when Seattle is pioneering a new model of public campaign finance meant to level the playing field between deep-pocketed donors and average citizens. Registered voters in the city each received $100 worth of “democracy vouchers” that they could give to candidates of their choosing. More than $2.4 million in contributions have been made through the program this year, according to the ethics and election commission.In a twist, Sawant turned down the vouchers -- and fundraising caps they imposed -- to more effectively fight against business spending. Her campaign had raised almost $453,000, largely from small-dollar donors, as of Oct. 27. Orion’s campaign, meanwhile, has brought in about $394,000, with about a third coming from vouchers.Amazon’s Zapolsky didn’t comment on the critiques of his company’s spending leveled by national politicians. Of the local races,“it’s not surprising that some candidates are looking to make this an election about Amazon as opposed to an election about the issues that matter to Seattle residents,” he said, calling out topics like homelessness, public safety, climate change and transportation.“We should all be on the same side of those and looking for solutions,” he said.Carol Isaac highlighted some of the same issues as she waited for a debate to begin last month between Orion and Sawant at Seattle’s Town Hall. But the retired University of Washington researcher put the blame elsewhere for the city’s challenges.Her fix?“You want me to give you the one-liner,” she asked. “Get rid of capitalism.”\--With assistance from Dina Bass.To contact the reporters on this story: Noah Buhayar in Seattle at email@example.com;Matt Day in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, ;Craig Giammona at firstname.lastname@example.org, Robin Ajello, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.