Monday, April 20, 2015
- Blizzard Entertainment (NASDAQ:ATVI) has set a June 2 release date for its Heroes of the Storm game -- a "multiplayer online battle arena" game that will combine characters from Blizzard classics and let players fight them against one another.
- The game follows in the footsteps of battle games like Marvel vs. Capcom or Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. in that it allows players to fight characters from divergent game universes -- but in its case, drawing from wildly popular game franchises including WarCraft, Starcraft and Diablo.
- MOBA games have seen massive market successes and Blizzard is joining in with what it calls a "team brawler" with an approachable sense of humor. The game will be free to play and focus on cooperative play but will feature a draft-style system for more experienced players.
- Blizzard's key franchises have collectively earned the company more than $4B over the past 20 years.
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- Execs with Hasbro (HAS +12.5%) confirmed during the company's earnings call that a Play-Doh movie is in the works.
- The Play-Doh brand performed well in Q1 with double-digit sales growth.
- A TV series inspired by Play-Doh is already up and running in China.
- Management also noted during the Q&A that Star Wars toys sales are already ratcheting higher with the next movie in the franchise still 8 months away.
- An expansion of the Star Wars franchise into stand-alone movies with new characters is expected to be beneficial for Hasbro.
- Previously: Hasbro beats by $0.13, beats on revenue
- Previously: More on Hasbro's Q1
- Hasbro earnings call transcript
- Pet spending in the U.S. is expected to rise 4.4% to $60.59B this year.
- The food category is seen rising 3.5%, while growth of 4.7% is forecast for the supplies and medicine category.
- Sale of premium food weren't broken out, but is seen outpacing the overall industry.
- Related stocks: FRPT, PETM, SJM, PETS.
- Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS +3.4%) are making a strong move higher on solid volume.
- The stock is threatening to break past the $21 mark for the first time since August.
- SeaWorld has been running national TV campaigns ahead of the summer season in a bid to improve its public perception.
- Previously: SeaWorld Entertainment starts new advertising campaign (Mar. 23 2015)
- A top lawmaker in New Jersey says there is an 85% to 90% chance a circuit court will give a ruling that paves the way for sports betting to be legalized in New Jersey.
- A decision on the 2014 Sports Wagering Law from U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp is expected on June 26.
- The battle for legalized sports betting in New Jersey pits Governor Chris Christie on the pro side against major sports leagues which oppose the measure.
- The state has eyes on the $3.9B in revenue Nevada raked in from sports betting last year.
- Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM), and Boyd Entertainment (NYSE:BYD) are the gaming companies with the largest presence in New Jersey, although legalized sports betting could bring in all kinds of new tech/gaming partnerships.
- Previously: Momentum builds for legalized sports betting (Mar. 10 2015)
- Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) is up 2.7% on strong volume despite its weekend faceplant with Stalin-era serial killer thriller Child 44, which cost $50M to make but earned a meager $600K in its first weekend.
- An SEC Form 4 filed Friday shows director Gordon Crawford bought 21,388 shares at $31.39 and another 13,612 shares at $30.97, for a total purchase of about $1.09M.
- The purchase is the first one filed by Crawford in the past 12 months.
- Earlier this month, Lions Gate's largest shareholder, Mark Rachesky, announced he'd sell off nearly 10M shares, about $337M worth.
- SEC Form 4
- Game maker Majesco Entertainment (NASDAQ:COOL) is up 44.2% after climbing steadily through the morning on near 30 times average volume.
- The company on Friday filed an S-8 registering 2.25M shares for its internal equity incentive plan.
- Majesco's expected to report earnings after the close on April 30; consensus expectations are for an EPS of -$0.31 on $2.9M in revenues.
- L'Oreal (OTCPK:LRLCF, OTCPK:LRLCY) reports sales rose 14% Y/Y to €6.44B ($6.92B) in Q1 vs. $6.35B expected.
- Sales were up 4% if the impact of currency swings and acquisitions were backed out.
- Revenue growth by region (as reported): Western Europe +4%, North America +25.2%, New Markets +17.4%.
- Revenue growth by division (as reported): Professional products +16%, Consumer Products +11.6%, L'Oreal Luxe +20.1%, Active Cosmetic +10.2%.
- L'Oreal sales update
- With its main competition coming from a security guard on a Segway, fast-driving Furious 7 (NASDAQ:CMCSA) led the box office for a third straight weekend with a healthy $29M, to close in on $300M domestically.
- The Universal film outdrew the critically panned Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (NYSE:SNE), which clocked in with a surprisingly strong $24M. The film earned a fairly rare 0% on critic aggregator Rottentomatoes.com but is now projected to profit, considering its $30M budget.
- As presaged by its fast start, Furious 7 blew past the $1B mark in global box office a few days ago.
- Universal grabbed another win with Unfriended, an ultra-cheap ($1M budget) teen-bullying horror that earned $16M, good enough for third place over the $10.3M earned by animated feature Home (DWA +1.5%). In its fourth weekend, Home (the best bit of news for DreamWorks in some time) has tallied $142.6M.
- On the other side of the spectrum, Child 44 (NYSE:LGF) -- which was banned in Russia -- debuted with just $600K in 510 theaters, a terrible trajectory for a film that cost $50M to make.
- IMAX (IMAX +1.1%) announces it renewed its film deal with Warner Bros.
- The new agreement will cover 30 Warner films through 2020, including some anticipated blockbusters such as Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Godzilla 2.
- Earlier this month, IMAX inked a new deal with Disney.
- Shares of IMAX are threatening to break through their all-time highs carved out in 2011.
- Previously: IMAX signs new picture deal with Disney (Apr. 08 2015)
- Kate Spade (KATE +1.8%) fared better than peers in a survey of consumer trends run by Mizuho.
- The results were strong enough for the investment firm to conclude that KS can evolve into a $4B brand which now includes more apparel, footwear, jewelry, and eyewear.
- Shares of Kate Spade are +3.97% YTD and sit 22% off their 52-week high.
- Research firm Global Blue says Chinese tourists increased their luxury spending by 67% in Q1.
- High-end retailers with stores in Europe received a good portion of the sales after a weak euro attracted tourists to buy in the region over Hong Kong.
- Last year, Chinese tourists increased spending by 18%.
- A reselling trend in China has accounted for some of the brisk growth, while also pressuring prices for luxury brands in China.
- Luxury retailers: Gucci (OTC:PPRUF, OTCPK:PPRUY), Louis Vuitton (OTCPK:LVMUY), Coach (NYSE:COH), Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS), Burberry (OTCPK:BURBY), Tiffany (NYSE:TIF), LVMH (OTCPK:LVMHF, OTCPK:LVMUY), Richemont (OTCPK:CFRUY, OTCPK:CFRHF), Remy Cointreau (OTCPK:REMYF, OTCPK:REMYY)
- McCormick & Company (MKC +1.4%) announces it will reorganize its business in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region.
- The company says it has identified projects to increase efficiency through streamlined operations.
- The initiatives are expected to cut 2015 EPS by $0.13 through special charges, while annual cost savings from the measures of $16M per year are expected by the end of 2017.
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