Expedia Group (EXPE) Raises $3.2 Billion And Names Peter Kern As CEO

By Amit Chowdhry ● April 23, 2020
  • Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) published an omnibus announcement that details some of the actions approved by the company’s board

Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE) published an omnibus announcement that details some of the actions approved today by the company’s board of directors.

“We have one mandate – to conserve cash, survive, and use this time to reconstruct a stronger enterprise to serve the future of travel. We are unable to make any predictions as to when travel will rebound but we emphatically believe that it will, for….’if there’s life, there’s travel,'” said Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive of Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE).

These are some of the company’s actions that were approved:

Peter Kern Named As CEO Of Expedia Group

Peter Kern has been named CEO of Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE). Kern has been a key member of the company’s board since 2005 and was named Vice Chairman in 2018. After Expedia changed management in December, Kern oversaw operational supervision in the company. Before that, his career spanned several decades across a number of leadership roles in public and private companies, most recently as CEO of Tribune Media.

Eric Hart Named As CFO Of Expedia Group

Eric Hart has been named CFO of Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE). Hart has been at Expedia for 11 years now. And during that time, he oversaw group strategy, business development, global M&A, investments, and CarRentals.com operations. Hart has been working as Acting CFO during both the reorganization and the Corona crisis. Now the CFO position will be permanent.

$3.2 Billion Of New Capital

To bolster the financial strength of Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE), the company announced it is raising $3.2 billion of new capital. This includes $1.2 billion by private firms Apollo and Silver Lake — which was rumored to be the case earlier this month.

The equity will be non-voting and non-convertible preferred stock. And it will also entail approximately $2B in new debt financing. Expedia is also ceasing dividends until the business rebounds.

Compensation Changes For The Board, Chairman, CEO, And Senior Executives

The Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and members of the Board will forgo cash compensation for the remainder of the year. And Senior Executives – the Travel Leadership Team – will be taking a reduction in salary of 25% for the balance of the year.

Employee Policies During The Corona Crisis

Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE) will be implementing furloughs and reduced workweek programs for select volume-based teams with limited work right now. The company’s intention is that impacted employees would retain Expedia healthcare benefits coverage while on furlough or reduced hours.

And the company will cover the employee premiums in the case of furloughs. Plus 401(k) matching contributions in the U.S. will be suspended through the end of the year.

Expedia also said it will support employees by participating in government aid where feasible in different countries.

“We will offer a voluntary reduced work week program for parents, caregivers and employees with personal needs to take a temporary shortened 3-day work week,” added Diller. “These steps on furlough and reduced work week programs as well as voluntary reduced work weeks will be active through August 31, when we will re-evaluate the situation and hope to be in a better position with volumes coming back and plenty of work to keep us all busy.”

Ever since the corona crisis began, Expedia had to deal with a number of challenges. For example, it had limited online tools for supporting widespread cancellations and the call volumes spiked 500%. Due to extraordinary pressure, Expedia’s tech teams built new tools and managed to bring our call center capacity to acceptable levels.

Disclosure: I own a small amount of Expedia shares