What: Shares of TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP) were up 23% as of 12:40 p.m. Wednesday after the travel website announced a new strategic partnership with The Priceline Group (NASDAQ:BKNG). By contrast, shares of Priceline were down around 2% as of this writing.
So what: Through the partnership, some of Priceline's online travel brands will participate in TripAdvisor's instant booking platform, with the first to brand to implement planned to be Booking.com. Then in time, TripAdvisor says, priceline.com and Agoda.com will each "likely" list inventory on the platform. Integration work has already begun to support Priceline Group hotel properties, which should be available on TripAdvisor's instant booking platform soon.
"Having The Priceline Group join the instant booking platform is a huge win for travelers," added TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer, "and we couldn't be more thrilled to have them as our first strategic, global online travel agency partner."
Now what: On the surface, this expanded selection and friendly partnership is great news for TripAdvisor, particularly as its easy-to-use Instant Booking platform represents a key way for the company to boost appeal to users of mobile and wearable devices.
It also helps that shares of TripAdvisor are still down more than 10% on the heels of the company's most recent weaker-than-expected quarterly report, in which hearty 25% top-line growth was overshadowed by significant currency headwinds and declining margins. But to its credit, TripAdvisor continues to generate healthy cash flow from operations (up 27% year over year to $200 million) and free cash flow (also up 27% to $177 million), helping it fund its habit of finding additional growth through acquisitions.
That doesn't mean today's massive pop is entirely justified, especially considering terms of the deal weren't disclosed, making it difficult to measure the partnership's financial impact on TripAdvisor. But it also seems evident the market was begging for a positive catalyst to bid up shares of this promising company. As long as TripAdvisor continues growing its moat and building powerful new alliances like this, don't be surprised if its share price follows suit.