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Booking.com faces more regulator investigations

CONSUMER CYCLICALS

Booking.com (BKNG; A3/A-; S); Italy's competition watchdog reportedly (Reuters) launched an investigation into if it is stifling competition by adjusting prices (when it sees cheaper prices elsewhere) without permission from hotels.

  • It follows company disclosing (in 4Q results last month) that it was facing a draft decision /~$530m fine from Spain regulator (CNMC). It disagreed with the ruling and called the amount "disproportionate to alleged conduct" and said if it did become final it would appeal. Appeal process was expected to take a few years. The issue in Spain was reportedly on BKNG preventing hotel groups offering deals cheaper on their own sites vs. Booking.com (i.e. similar pricing issues).
  • As a point of reference BKNG generates $7b in FCF/yr and has $13.1b in cash on hand.
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Booking.com (BKNG; A3/A-; S); Italy's competition watchdog reportedly (Reuters) launched an investigation into if it is stifling competition by adjusting prices (when it sees cheaper prices elsewhere) without permission from hotels.

  • It follows company disclosing (in 4Q results last month) that it was facing a draft decision /~$530m fine from Spain regulator (CNMC). It disagreed with the ruling and called the amount "disproportionate to alleged conduct" and said if it did become final it would appeal. Appeal process was expected to take a few years. The issue in Spain was reportedly on BKNG preventing hotel groups offering deals cheaper on their own sites vs. Booking.com (i.e. similar pricing issues).
  • As a point of reference BKNG generates $7b in FCF/yr and has $13.1b in cash on hand.