Companies tend to slow when their expansion catches on. Booking Holdings, an online travel giant, is looking for ways to avoid the issue by investing into new markets, including alternative accommodations. Unfortunately, the process has been slow moving, in and of itself.
During the first-quarter, Booking Holdings saw its total revenues decline 3 percent, year-over-year, to $2.8 billion.
One other path to new growth could be more acquisitions, CEO Glenn Fogel suggested on an earnings call Thursday.
The company partly blamed a weakness in the U.S. dollar’s value relative to other currencies for the revenue drop. Without the currency issues, revenue growth would be up about 3 percent, the company said.
Either way, the company’s growth is now tepid compared to the 16 percent average annualized year-over-year revenue growth that it enjoyed between 2014 and last year.
Looking ahead, the company is forecasting merely 5 to 7 percent revenue growth in the second quarter.
GROWTH THROUGH ACQUISITIONS?
During the call, Fogel said three times that he was considering opportunistic mergers and acquisitions. For example, he said, “As we continue to execute against a very large market opportunity, we will look to drive shareholder returns through a combination of organic growth investment, share repurchases, and opportunistic M&A.” He also said, “We will continue to utilize M&A and strategic investments to accelerate key growth opportunities.” And he said, “We will continue to drive long-term shareholder returns through a combination of organic investment, share repurchases and opportunistic M&A.”
It wasn’t clear what size company or sector he had in mind. The inferred context was that the conglomerate has several opportunities to knit together an interlocking set of travel services to do a better job of cross-selling and upselling customers on an array of products throughout the life of a trip.
It’s somewhat unusual for an executive to highlight an interest in acquisitions. However, Fogel previously was the leader of the company’s corporate development efforts and was the architect of several famous deals.
Earlier this month, Booking Holdings acquired a guest management platform for restaurants and other businesses called Venga with an apparent intention to offer it to the more than 51,000 restaurants that list on its reservation service OpenTable.
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