Expedia revenue hits $975M on strength of hotel business

Expedia is flying high again. The Bellevue-based online travel giant today posted fourth quarter revenue of $975 million, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2011. For the year, the company topped $4 billion in revenue, a 17 percent increase.

Net income dropped to $6.9 million, down from $70 million for the same period in 2011. The company also said that it planned to set aside $110 million tied to Hawaii Tax Court Litigation,

“We reserved this amount due to our expectation that we will be required by the state of Hawaii to pay this amount in order to pursue a challenge on appeal of the adverse decision by the Tax Court that general excise tax is due on
the total amount paid by consumers for a hotel room reservation in Hawaii,” the company wrote in a press release. “To the extent we prevail, the state will be required to repay us with interest. In addition, the court is considering additional assessments and penalties which we  estimate could be up to $60 million. Payment of these amounts is not an admission that we believe we are subject to the  taxes in question.”

Shares of Expedia, which have already taken off in recent months, jumped more than four percent in after hours trading. The company, whose stock is up 97 percent in the past year, now boasts a market value of $9.1 billion.

The big driver of the business in the fourth quarter was hotel room night bookings, up 33 percent. Meanwhile, airline tickets increased 12 percent.

Expedia finished the quarter with $2 billion in cash and short-term investments.