Booking returns on Priceline

  @FortuneMagazine February 6, 2014: 7:18 AM ET
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Chart source: S&P Capital IQ

(Fortune)

Not long ago the $3.3 billion T. Rowe Price Media & Telecommunications Fund was selling its Priceline shares. With the travel site's stock deep into a five-year, 1,500% run-up, it seemed prudent for the fund, which has trounced its peers with a 15.9% average return over the past 10 years, to take profits. But when Paul Greene, 36, took over as lead manager last May, he started buying Priceline again. Previously an analyst for the fund, Greene has long championed Priceline and remains bullish. Here's why.

1. Priceline has a secret weapon

In the U.S. people associate Priceline with its "Name your own price" system and spokesman William Shatner. But well over half its revenues and profits come from outside the U.S., mostly through Booking.com, the fast-growing European hotel reservation site Priceline bought in 2005. A 2012 deal with China's Ctrip gives the Chinese access to Booking.com's unmatched inventory of 355,000 hotels (and Western travelers access to Chinese hotels). And Greene believes Booking.com will prosper in the U.S., where it's just getting started.

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