Stock Watch: PurchasePro Gains on Hilton Deal, Inc. (Nasdaq: PPRO) gained 1 51/64 to close at 23 1/16 Thursday after announcing a plan to set up a procurement network for Hilton Hotels Corp. (NYSE: HLT).

The Las Vegas, Nevada-based PurchasePro said the network is due to launch this summer and will be going full force by year-end. The two companies said they will also work together to create the hospitality industry’s largest purchasing exchange.

Hilton, which operates such chains as Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Harrison Conference Centers and Homewood Suites, buys about $1.5 billion worth of supplies each year. The company started an online purchasing system three years ago, and will move its online purchases to a PurchasePro system.

“Our initiative with is designed to further improve our company’s efficiencies and profitability,” said Dieter Huckestein, president of Hilton’s hotel division.

PurchasePro said it will use Hilton as the “anchor tenant” for the exchange. Such hotel companies as Best Western, Meristar Hotels, Mirage Resorts and Mandalay Resort Group already use PurchasePro’s browser-based procurement system.

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