Soaring hotel bookings pushed revenue higher at Expedia Inc., but the online travel agency's fourth-quarter profit fell 90 percent because of money it set aside to appeal a tax dispute in Hawaii.
Nights booked for hotel stays jumped 33 percent as demand grew for a second straight quarter in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Room nights rose 19 percent in the U.S., the best gain in two years. The average room rate fell 3 percent.
Investors seemed to focus less on the bottom line and more on the strong hotel sales and surprising 24 percent jump in revenue. Expedia shares rose in after-hours trading, adding to gains during the regular session.
Expedia said that it earned $6.7 million, or 5 cents per share, down from $70.3 million, or 44 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The results included $111 million that Expedia expects to pay to appeal a ruling on the way that hotel-occupancy taxes are calculated in Hawaii. Expedia could get back some or all of the money if it wins on appeal.
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