News Column

Activision 1Q profit falls but results beat Street

May 6, 2014

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) Activision Blizzard Inc. said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income fell 36 percent as revenue declined, but adjusted results surpassed analysts' expectations and the video game publisher's stock rose in extended trading.

The maker of "Call of Duty" and "Skylanders" earned $293 million in the January-March period. That's down from $456 million in the same period a year earlier. Earnings per share were flat at 40 cents because there were fewer shares outstanding in the most recent quarter.

Revenue fell 16 percent to $1.11 billion from $1.32 billion.

On an adjusted basis, a more closely watched figure, Activision earned 19 cents per share in the latest quarter, compared with 17 cents per share a year earlier when it had more outstanding shares.

Adjusted revenue fell 4 percent to $772 million from $804 million.

On this basis, analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of 10 cents per share on revenue of $686.5 million.

Adjusted figures exclude special items and account for the effects of deferring revenue and related cost of sales for games with online components. Like other video game companies, Activision spreads these out over time, while the game is played, rather than recognizing them all at once.

"We have a strong product pipeline for the balance of the year, beginning with the Sept. 9 planned launch of 'Destiny,' which we believe could become our next billion-franchise and the largest new video game (property) launch in history," CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement.

For the current quarter, Activision is forecasting adjusted earnings of 1 cent per share on adjusted revenue of $600 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 5 cents per share on revenue of $576.8 million.

The company also raised its full-year adjusted outlook to earnings per share of $1.27 on revenue of $4.68 billion. Analysts expect $1.29 per share on revenue of $4.64 billion.

Shares of Santa Monica, California-based Activision rose 69 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $20 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed down 11 cents at $19.31.

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Source: Associated Press

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