Priceline.com Inc. Wednesday added three major airlines to its “name your price” leisure ticket service.
The companies joined Delta Air Lines, which restructured its priceline.com
equity position. Priceline (PCLN), which is giving the new partners equity in exchange for their membership, will record a one-time, non-cash charge of approximately $1.1 billion in the
fourth quarter to pay for the deal.
With the addition of these new carriers, priceline.com’s inventory access
will increase by 94 percent. In total, priceline.com’s partner airlines
represent almost 90 percent of the total U.S. market share and fly an
average of more than 500,000 empty seats every day.
“We view this addition of three major domestic airlines as an extremely
strong endorsement of the value of priceline.com’s system
to our airline partners, both as an incremental revenue producer and a
long-term strategic equity asset,” said Richard S. Braddock,
priceline.com’s chairman and CEO.
Also, Delta will exchange 6 million shares of priceline common stock for
an equal amount of newly-issued convertible preferred stock that may be
converted into priceline.com common stock. After the deal, Delta
hold approximately 8.5 million common Priceline shares. In
addition, Delta will receive new warrants to acquire 5.5 million shares of
priceline common stock at an exercise price equal to last Friday’s closing
price of priceline shares.
Priceline has issued warrants totaling 20 million shares to domestic airline partners which carry an average exercise
price of $56 a share, representing approximately 10 percent of the fully
diluted common stock of priceline.com.