Booking.com’s Call for Help Draws Dutch Outcry, Policy Rethink
by Ruben Munstermann, Bloomberg Tax
“Profit machine Booking.com raises its hand for state aid,” wrote financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad. Evening paper NRC Handelsblad called the request “the dark side of the business climate.” Much of the criticism focused on its use of tax planning and past payouts to investors. Parent company Booking Holdings Inc. has bought back $16 billion worth of stock over the past three years, according to its financial statements.
“Booking paid so much money to its shareholders in recent years that there aren’t any buffers,” said Jaap Koelewijn, corporate finance professor at Nyenrode Business University, by phone. “This is a classic example of privatizing the profits and socializing the losses,” he said.