Active and Bookings now operate as a combined entity under a single company name, Booking.com. It operates in 40 countries and offers customers in Europe and the U.S. access to reservations at about 25,000 participating European hotels. It markets its products through multiple Web sites, including booking.com, activereservations.com, priceline.co.uk and many other European country-specific Web sites.

The two buys come at a time when Europe's online travel market holds a lot of growth potential.

"The European market is very important," said Boyd. "It's growing faster than the U.S. market in general, and our business there is also growing very fast."

In the third quarter, gross travel bookings from Priceline's European operations soared 121% from the prior year, to $398 million. Gross travel bookings is the total dollar value, including all taxes and fees, of all travel services purchased by consumers.

During the quarter, 44% of the company's total gross travel bookings stemmed from its European operations. In Europe, Priceline sells only hotel rooms.
And Boyd expects more than half of Priceline's net income for the 2006 second half to come from its European operations.

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