Priceline (NASDAQ: PCLN ) is hoping that travelers get hungry. It's acquiring restaurant reservations leader OpenTable (UNKNOWN: OPEN.DL ) in a $2.6 billion deal. Cashing out OpenTable investors at $103 a share represents a 46% premium to where the stock was trading ahead of Friday morning's announcement.
Some are arguing that Priceline is paying too much. Then again, the company with the "name your own price" mantra for its namesake site has an ironic habit of paying too much, such as for Kayak and other travel websites. But Priceline has proved over time that it gets good deals, and that will probably be the case this time around as well.
Priceline's been a market darling on the strength of its travel bookings, but the logical expansion into reservations at foodie haunts makes sense. Priceline's strength in Europe should also help shore up OpenTable's presence in Europe, which has been somewhat lackluster since expanding overseas a few years ago.
That doesn't mean someone will step up with a better offer. OpenTable's stock popped above $103 on the news for a deal that should close next summer, but it's not as if Priceline will be under pressure to top that price. OpenTable is worth a premium to Priceline, but this is unlikely to be a prelude to a bidding war.
Briefly in the news
And now let's look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) turned heads by opening up its patents to folks with honorable intentions to make electric cars more feasible. The market wasn't keen on the idea. Intellectual capital is pretty valuable to give away. However, it's not the first time Elon Musk has bucked conventional wisdom. He will probably win again this time.
- General Motors (NYSE: GM ) just can't seem to stop calling back its vehicles. It issued recalls covering another 600,000 cars this week, with most of that going to owners of 511,500 Chevy Camaros after an internal investigation found another ignition switch problem.
- It was more sheer madness for lululemon athletica (NASDAQ: LULU ) shareholders, after the upscale fitness apparel retailer posted uninspiring results. It hosed down its outlook for all of fiscal 2014, tagging 2014 as a "transitional" year. It's hard to get excited about the premium yoga clothing chain when comps at its company-owned stores are negative.
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