Activision Blizzard, Inc (ATVI) - NASDAQ
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 12:11 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (ATVI -3.2%) got a jump on the new year with another boost to its e-sports ambitions, reportedly taking over Major League Gaming for $46M as others counted down to midnight.
    • Activision had hired MLG's Mike Sepso away in October to serve as senior VP of its new e-sports division, and the companies have worked together on the Call of Duty Championship over the past five years. as well as on Blizzard titles like World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm.
    • MLG had reportedly discussed a sale in the fall (possibly to Yahoo) but was unable to find a buyer.
    • Activision will get a recognized brand in the deal along with infrastructure: MLG has a physical and online tournament structure as well as a streaming platform in MLG.tv.
    • Previously: Activision creates e-sports division to be headed by former ESPN CEO (Oct. 22 2015)
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 12:11 PM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Jan. 1, 4:53 AM
    | Fri, Jan. 1, 4:53 AM | 27 Comments
  • Dec. 30, 2015, 6:28 PM
    • Macquarie's still bullish on the major videogame publishers in a new update, maintaining Outperform ratings on Activision Blizzard (ATVI -0.4%), Electronic Arts (EA -0.3%) and Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO -0.9%).
    • The firm's Ben Schachter went into some detail about structural differences in how the three grow margins. While U.S. publishers have traditionally hit operating margins of 10-30% (vs. Asian PC-centric companies at 40-45% or more), he says Activision could grow closer to 40-45% over time, and that EA and Take-Two could grow past 35%.
    • Among differences, he noted that Activision and Take-Two amortize software development costs in costs of goods sold as they recognize revenue, while EA expenses development costs as they occur, in the R&D line below gross profit.
    • As for revenue, while the companies have many similarities (based on wholesale price for AAA physical, a net basis for digital revenues and for China PC distributors), they differ on mobile, where Activision recognizes gross (100%) while EA and Take-Two recognize net (70%).
    • Macquarie had boosted its price target to $36 for ATVI on Nov. 4 (it closed at $39.43 today); it holds targets of $83 for EA (19% upside implied); $38 for TTWO (7% upside implied).
    • Previously: Pacific Crest: Activision won holiday videogaming with 'Call of Duty' (Dec. 30 2015)
    | Dec. 30, 2015, 6:28 PM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 30, 2015, 2:37 PM
    • Pacific Crest has named Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) the holiday season's videogames winner, on the success of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
    • "Our checks have consistently mentioned CoD as the top game this holiday season and that sales are up year over year due to the first three-year development cycle for Black Ops and the return of the ever-popular Zombies mode," says Pac Crest's Evan Wilson. "We remain positive on ATVI headed into 2016."
    • Wilson rates Activision Overweight with a price target of $41; shares are flat today at $39.59.
    • He's more neutral on rivals Electronic Arts (EA +0.4%) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO -0.1%); Take-Two had a "relatively successful holiday" thanks to NBA 2K16. Meanwhile, EA's Star Wars: Battlefront saw sales driven down by discounts -- "We continue to think sales are only around the 13M unit guidance" -- and the company missed an opportunity with timing. "We would stay on the sidelines as shares look for a next catalyst beyond Star Wars."
    | Dec. 30, 2015, 2:37 PM
  • Dec. 29, 2015, 9:39 AM
    • "Our checks have consistently mentioned [Call of Duty: Black Ops 3] as the top game this holiday season and that sales are up year-over-year due to the first three-year development cycle for Black Ops and the return of the ever-popular Zombies mode," says Pac Crest's Evan Wilson, reiterating an Overweight on Activision (ATVI +2.2%)
    • NPD (unsurprisingly) reported earlier this month Black Ops 3 was the top-selling U.S. game in November. Amazon announced yesterday the first-person shooter was one of its three best-selling holiday titles, along with Fallout 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront.
    • Last week, Activision announced Black Ops III's first downloadable content pack (DLC), known as Awakening, will arrive on the PS4 on Feb. 2, with other platforms following later. The game currently has a Metacritic review score of 81/100, but a user score of just 4.5/10.
    | Dec. 29, 2015, 9:39 AM | 4 Comments
  • Dec. 11, 2015, 2:49 PM
    • NPD estimates U.S. physical retail video game sales fell 7% Y/Y in November to $993.9M, after having dropped 3% in seasonally weaker October to $349.4M. Aggressively-priced console bundles likely weighed on standalone game sales. Hardware sales rose 11% to $1.12B after being roughly flat in October, and peripheral/interactive toy sales rose 6% to $357.7M after rising 18% in October.
    • Not surprisingly, Activision's (ATVI -3.2%) Call of Duty: Black Ops III was the month's top-selling game, followed by Bethseda's Fallout 4. However, Activision's Destiny: The Taken King fell out of the top-10, after coming in at #7 last month.
    • Electronic Arts' (EA +1.2%) Star Wars: Battlefront, which recently saw a $20 GameStop price cut amid mixed critic and user reviews, was #3. EA also took the #4, #6, and #7 spots via Madden NFL 16, FIFA 16, and Need for Speed. Madden and FIFA were also #4 and #6 last month.
    • Take-Two's (TTWO -1%) NBA 2K16 dropped three spots to #5, while WWE 2K16 fell out of the top-10. Ubisoft's (OTCPK:UBSFY) Assassin's Creed: Syndicate and Just Dance 2016 were #9 and #10; neither was in the top-10 last month.
    • Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Halo 5: Guardians fell from #1 to #8. With Halo 5 providing less of a lift to Xbox One sales, the PlayStation 4 (NYSE:SNE) regained its status as the top-selling U.S. retail console.
    • EA remains green following the data and news the company is entering the eSports market. Activision (like GameStop) is underperforming amid a 1.8% Nasdaq drop, and Take-Two is down modestly.
    • Last month: Black Ops 3 sells $550M in opening weekend
    | Dec. 11, 2015, 2:49 PM | 4 Comments
  • Dec. 4, 2015, 1:37 PM
    • Investors are buying back into consumer staples and consumer discretionary names, while tip-toeing around major chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and Macy's. Some sin stocks are part of the rally.
    • Lower oil prices, today's read on U.S. employment, and a few key earnings report have helped to increase confidence that consumers will spend more on low-priced items. Notable movers by category are below.
    • Nondurable household products: Scott's Liquid Gold-Inc (OTCPK:SLGD +4.5%), Procter & Gamble (PG +2.5%), Church & Dwight (CHD +1.6%), Spectrum Brands (SPB +1.4%).
    • Toys/Video games: Electronic Arts (EA +4.6%), Mattel (MAT +4.3%), Activision Blizzard (ATVI +3.2%).
    • Tobacco: Reynolds America (RAI +3.1%), Altria (MO +2.5%).
    • Beverages: Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.A) +3.2%, Constellation Brands (STZ +2.8%), Coca-Cola (KO +2.3%), PepsiCo (PEP +2%).
    • Footwear: Nike (NKE +2.6%), Skechers (SKX +1.9%), Wolverine Worldwide (WWW +2.2%).
    • Related ETFs: XLY, XRT, VCR, RTH, RETL, IYK, IYC, FXD, FDIS, SCC, UCC, RCD, PMR, UGE, SZK, BITE
    | Dec. 4, 2015, 1:37 PM | 15 Comments
  • Dec. 3, 2015, 10:49 AM
    | Dec. 3, 2015, 10:49 AM | 4 Comments
  • Dec. 2, 2015, 8:53 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (ATVI -0.5%) is the top pick among videogame makers in a new report from Cowen & Co., which has crunched some numbers from Thanksgiving weekend indicators and sees a strong holiday for three firms.
    • Cowen analyst Doug Creutz says Activision rates an Outperform, and so do Electronic Arts (EA +1%) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO -0.3%).
    • Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was a top seller over the Black Friday weekend, and analysts not only favor the company's move to buy King Digital (NYSE:KING) but also think its guidance may be conservative with outstanding content ahead. Cowen's price target is $44, implying 15% upside from today's close of $38.38.
    • EA, meanwhile, put two SKUs for Madden NFL 16 into the top 20 sellers over the holiday weekend, despite passing on aggressive discount pricing from years past. Cowen's price target is $79 (14% upside from today's $69.34). For Take-Two, Cowen has a price target of $36; shares closed today at $35.88.
    | Dec. 2, 2015, 8:53 PM
  • Nov. 23, 2015, 11:55 AM
    | Nov. 23, 2015, 11:55 AM | 12 Comments
  • Nov. 17, 2015, 3:18 PM
    • It's launch day for Star Wars: Battlefront, one of the year's biggest videogame rollouts, but Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) may want to skip the earliest reviews.
    • The game is getting a 73 rating -- "mixed or average reviews" -- on Metacritic for its Xbox One version (15 critics). The PlayStation 4 version is faring a bit better with a 78 (generally favorable), from 13 critics.
    • EA shares are flat today, while rivals Activision Blizzard (ATVI +3.1%) and Take-Two (TTWO +2.4%) are much stronger.
    • Mizuho's Neil Doshi is unperturbed; many of the worst reviews were from people expecting a single-player campaign, he says, and major sites have yet to post their takes. He still agrees with EA that the company could sell 13M units by the end of March and reiterated a Buy rating and $84 target (near 24% upside implied).
    • Along with reviewers, Piper Jaffray's Michael Olson noted a dearth of content in the game as sold, but industry trends suggest that can be remedied by a year of strong downloadable content that EA could provide. Olson has an Overweight rating and an $87 price target.
    • Previously: EA +1% as Oppenheimer launches at Outperform on strong slate, margins (Nov. 12 2015)
    • Previously: Electronic Arts sinks 5% after beat-and-raise, bullish targets (Oct. 30 2015)
    • Previously: Electronic Arts +1.6% as Piper Jaffray reiterates Buy (Oct. 27 2015)
    | Nov. 17, 2015, 3:18 PM | 15 Comments
  • Nov. 11, 2015, 10:44 AM
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 logged more than $550M in its first weekend of sales, Activision Blizzard (ATVI +0.2%) reports, establishing an early benchmark for a crucial holiday season for games and retailers overall.
    • The company happily compared the three days to every other entertainment launch this year, including Jurassic World -- which grossed some $523M worldwide in its opening three days.
    • Activision has a new partnership with Sony's PlayStation as the preferred partner platform, and the new game set a platform record for first-day sellers (digital full game, by units moved).
    • Fans also played more than 75M hours online over the weekend in the multiplayer-heavy first-person military shooter. It's on a pace for more hours per player than any other Call of Duty game, says Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg.
    • Digital downloads overall on next-gen consoles was up nearly 100% from the year-ago launch of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
    • Call of Duty is a $10B franchise for Activision Blizzard, and a critical piece going forward: Activision is basing a key part of its e-sports strategy on a worldwide league around the game, and it plans a "robust cinematic universe" around the game as a key project for its new film studio.
    • Previously: Activision creates TV/film studio to build off games; releases 'Black Ops 3' (Nov. 06 2015)
    • Previously: E-sports: Activision widens competition; Turner has prime-time plans (Sep. 24 2015)
    | Nov. 11, 2015, 10:44 AM | 12 Comments
  • Nov. 6, 2015, 1:43 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (ATVI -4%) is creating a new studio that will turn its game and toy franchises into films and TV shows.
    • First up from Activision Blizzard Studios: in-progress work on Skylanders Academy, an animated series based on the $3B toys-to-life game hit Skylanders, and a "robust cinematic universe" built around the Call of Duty shooting-game franchise.
    • Skylanders Academy will be run by Eric Rogers (Futurama) and feature the voices of Justin Long, Ashley Tisdale, Jonathan Banks, Norm MacDonald, Harland Williams and Richard Horvitz. Other projects will follow. (Will Candy Crush become a real cinematic Saga?)
    • Former Disney strategy executive Nick van Dyk is co-president of the studio alongside an executive to be named later.
    • Meanwhile, it's release day for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Activision's latest entry in a $10B franchise and projected by many to be the year's top game. The open question is whether it can reverse declines in CoD series sales. The game has an 85 on Metacritic, up slightly from the past two entries.
    | Nov. 6, 2015, 1:43 PM | 14 Comments
  • Nov. 5, 2015, 3:41 PM
    | Nov. 5, 2015, 3:41 PM | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 4, 2015, 5:04 PM
    • Fresh off news that it's getting acquired by Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), King Digital Entertainment (KING -0.5%) posted a solid Q3 on profits and revenues thanks to a few moneymaking hits.
    • Gross bookings were $502M, down $27M (5%) from Q2 and down 8% Y/Y. Some 82% ($414M) of gross bookings came from the mobile audience. Adjusted EBITDA of $180M beat an expected $158.3M.
    • Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga were ranked in the top 5 grossing games in the Apple and Google stores for the third straight quarter.
    • Users declined across the board, however. Monthly active users fell to 474M from a year-ago 495M, and daily active users slipped to 133M from 137M.
    • Meanwhile, monthly unique users fell to 330M from 348M, and monthly unique payers fell to 6.85M from 8.67M. Monthly gross average bookings per paying users rose to $24.45 from $20.92, and the company said it saw a higher portion of payers paying in more than one game.
    • It's guiding to gross bookings of $475M-$500M in Q4. Shares were inactive after hours.
    | Nov. 4, 2015, 5:04 PM | 9 Comments
  • Nov. 4, 2015, 3:53 PM
    • As analyst takes pile up, some bullishness is rolling in for Activision Blizzard (ATVI +2.7%) following news of its $5.9B deal to acquire King Digital (KING -0.5%) -- a price tag that has stirred debate over whether Activision overpaid.
    • Cowen's Doug Creutz had called the deal a "steal" yesterday. Wedbush raised its price target on Activision to $47, from $37, reiterating an Outperform rating, and sees a "mobile powerhouse" coming from a combo that "makes eminent sense."
    • Activision gains a lot by buying mobile development rather than spending a decade to build it out, Wedbush says. The firm believes the addressable market for mobile games is close to $24B now, and could grow 15-20% a year over the next five.
    • With Activision currently trading at $36.78, Wedbush's target implies 27.8% upside.
    • Pacific Crest calls this "one of the most 'Activision' of Activision deals it has ever done," pointing to 30% accretion to 2016 earnings and unlocking overseas cash. Activision will use $3.6B in offshore cash along with a term loan to seal the deal.
    • The firm says modest growth at King may be inconsequential in the long run. It boosted its price target on Activision to $41 from $31 (implied 11.5% upside from current price) and maintains an Overweight rating.
    • Previously: ATVI down -2.8% after 'steal' in King deal; GLUU, ZNGA higher (Nov. 03 2015)
    • Previously: Activision earnings: Solid beat on top and bottom lines, record digital revenue (Nov. 02 2015)
    • Previously: Activision Blizzard to acquire King Digital for $5.9B (Nov. 02 2015)
    | Nov. 4, 2015, 3:53 PM
Company Description
Activision Blizzard, Inc. is an online, personal computer, video game console, tablet, handheld and mobile game publisher of interactive entertainment. The company operates through three segments: Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc and Activision Blizzard Distribution. The... More
Sector: Technology
Industry: Multimedia & Graphics Software
Country: United States