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Shares of HomeAway (Nasdaq: AWAY ) are trading more than 4% lower today after last night's report of a net loss for the second quarter. Preferred dividends took $8.8 million from the bottom line, turning last year's $0.08-a-share gain into a $0.17-per-share loss.
Fortunately, that's where the bad news ends. Every other metric looks solid to me. To review:
- Overall revenue improved 40.9% to $58.7 million while listing revenue -- i.e., sales directly related to listing properties at HomeAway's sites -- grew 33.9%.
- Paid listings grew 19.3% to 626,661, while average revenue per listing increased 13.8% to $339. HomeAway is demonstrating pricing power as it grows.
- Cash from operations for the first six months of 2011 improved 19.5% to $40.5 million.
To be fair, HomeAway is like Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) in that acquisitions have long fueled growth. In Q2, the company purchased realholidays.com.au and now boasts the largest inventory of vacation rental listings in Australia. HomeAway's balance sheet includes more than $300 million of goodwill as a result of its acquisitive history.
Yet this doesn't concern me as much as it does other Fools. HomeAway's biggest and most important purchases -- such as VRBO.com -- were completed years ago. In Q2, the company added auto-renewal options to both HomeAway.com and VRBO.com, and already high renewal rates went higher as a result. (Up to 76.2% from 75.1% at the end of last year's second quarter.)
Why? Scale matters to property owners in the same way that scale matters to airlines and hotel chains. The larger the database, the greater the chance an unsold seat or room will find a buyer. This is why priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN ) is so successful, and why Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE ) is having its TripAdvisor subsidiary put capital into FlipKey, a HomeAway competitor.
Venture capitalists also love the model. A group of them recently put $112 million into AirBnB, a social network for connecting homeowners and short-term couch crashers. Headline writers appear to see the funding -- and the underlying business model -- as massively disruptive to HomeAway. I'm not buying it. Vacationing families need more than a spare bedroom.
Is today's sell-off reflective of a disruptive shift, or a buying opportunity? You tell me. Please vote in the poll below and then leave a comment to tell us your thoughts about HomeAway's business. You can also add HomeAway to your watchlist for up-to-date analysis on the stock as soon as it's published.