Mon, Nov. 23, 11:55 AM
- Major videogame makers are trading lower today despite modest broader market gains, after key retailer GameStop posted disappointing earnings and guidance today.
- Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is off 5.8%, Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) down 0.6% and Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) off 1.7% following the results.
- Revenues declined at GameStop (counting currency effects) and its sales mix tilted toward pre-owned games, as the percentage of sales devoted to new video game hardware and new software both declined.
- Previously: GameStop craters after earnings and guidance disappoint (Nov. 23 2015)
- Previously: GameStop misses by $0.05, misses on revenue (Nov. 23 2015)
Tue, Nov. 17, 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)
Wed, Nov. 4, 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)
Tue, Nov. 3, 9:50 AM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is off 2.8% in the wake of last night's surprise announcement that it was buying Candy Crush Saga regents King Digital (KING +14.1%) for $5.9B.
- Cowen's Doug Creutz reiterated his Outperform rating on Activision, calling the deal "an absolute steal for Activision" that "immediately vaults them to being one of the top mobile gaming companies in the world." He has a $35 price target on the stock; just over 4% upside from today's trading of $33.60.
- Meanwhile, Jim Cramer says "If [Activision chief Bobby Kotick] says this is a good deal, it's a good deal."
- With the deal, King may have "solved" its dilemma of how to keep converting players into payers, as the company never quite got beyond the dependence on a single franchise (however lucrative).
- King's mobile and social game rivals are trading up on the acquisition news as well; Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) is up 5.2% in early going, while Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is up 2.5%. Majesco Entertainment (NASDAQ:COOL) is up 6.3%.
Mon, Nov. 2, 10:47 PM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) has announced a deal to acquire King Digital Entertainment (NYSE:KING), makers of Candy Crush Saga and other mobile games, for $5.9B in equity value.
- The company posted its earnings as well, logging non-GAAP revenues of $1.04B and EPS of $0.21.
- The deal for King represents $5B in enterprise value. At $18 in cash per share, it's a 20% premium over King's Oct. 30 closing price and a 15.8% premium over today's close (King shares gained 4% to $15.54 today).
- Both boards have unanimously approved the deal -- a scheme of arrangement under Irish law -- and so it heads to approval by King shareholders and the Irish High Court, with closing expected by Spring 2016.
- Activision's cash portion will be funded by $3.6B of offshore cash on its balance sheet and a term loan under an existing $2.3B credit agreement.
- Activision and King will host a call at 8 a.m. ET tomorrow to discuss the acquisition and answer questions.
- Deal summary presentation
Thu, Oct. 22, 2:13 PM
- Activision Blizzard (ATVI +2.7%) is increasing its bet on "e-sports" -- competitive videogaming as a spectator sport -- with a pair of high-profile hires to lead a new division.
- Steve Bornstein, former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network, will be chairman of the new unit, with Mike Sepso (co-founder and president of Major League Gaming) serving as senior vice president.
- "I believe e-sports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry," said Bornstein.
- Blizzard has been an early adopter of televised e-sports with its franchises StarCraft and World of Warcraft, and got its "Heroes of the Dorm" collegiate event for Heroes of the Storm telecast on ESPN2 earlier this year.
- Meanwhile, the Activision side has big plans for annual international championships around Call of Duty.
- Previously: E-sports: Activision widens competition; Turner has prime-time plans (Sep. 24 2015)
Wed, Oct. 14, 9:15 PM
- Demand is still strong among teens for the newest generation of videogame consoles, Piper Jaffray says -- and that's good news for leading game makers like Activision Blizzard (ATVI +0.4%) and Electronic Arts (EA +3.1%).
- Uptake of the Xbox One (MSFT -0.5%) and PlayStation 4 (SNE -1.5%) consoles "is at the highest level we have seen, reinforcing our expectation for a much more rapid pace than prior-gen" consoles, says analyst Michael Olson, a "clear positive" for Activision, EA, Take-Two Interactive (TTWO +0.2%) and retailer GameStop (GME -1.1%).
- The firm's semiannual survey found 73% of videogame-playing teens own an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, or intend to get one -- up from 70% last spring and 67% last fall. Some 39% currently own one of the newer consoles, up from 37% in the spring and 26% last fall.
- "We believe the combination of next-gen console uptake and a robust lineup of AAA titles will lead to sustainable software growth through second-half 2015 and into 2016," Olson writes.
- Mobile players are stable, but the number who'll pay is rising as well. Some 24% of teens who play mobile games by makers like Glu Mobile (GLUU +1.2%) and King Digital (KING -0.4%) say they spend in-game money, the survey said, up from 21% in the spring.
Mon, Sep. 28, 3:51 PM
- Cowen & Co. is seeing what they like from content investments at Activision Blizzard (ATVI -2.2%), bumping its price target to $35, from $28.
- Cowen's Doug Creutz maintains his Outperform rating on the stock. Shares closed Friday at $32.06 and are currently trading at $31.35, implying 12% upside from here.
- The firm raised its EPS estimates for fiscal 2015 (to $1.39 from $1.34) and 2016 (to $1.61 from $1.51).
- Activision Blizzard should see significant sales growth for the next few years from its recent lineup, he says; major updates from Hearthstone and Destiny are performing well, with record user levels hitting up Destiny: The Taken King.
- “We expect both games to be key drivers of upside in Q3,” Creutz says, and the firm sees advance interest in the upcoming Black Ops 3 to be strong. He also expects that declines in World of Warcraft and Skylanders could slow or stop.
- Previously: Activision up after 'Destiny' expansion sets download record (Sep. 17 2015)
Thu, Sep. 24, 2:48 PM
- With the rumbling on of e-sports -- videogames played as professional competition -- Activision (ATVI -0.6%) is expanding its presence in Call of Duty contests, moving from an annual tournament to year-round competition with a tripled prize pool.
- What was a $1M tournament will become $3M for international leagues with pro and amateur divisions, with a year-end championship. The "Call of Duty World League" will launch in early 2016 in North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand.
- Meanwhile, TBS (TWX -2.4%) is bringing e-sports to primetime TV, creating a league along with talent agency WME/IMG that will feature live Friday night events for a 20-week season. A 2016 launch will happen in the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
- E-sports' audience is estimated at 32M people in the U.S., expected to hit 50M in 2017, and about 200M worldwide live and online viewership.
Fri, Aug. 28, 5:12 PM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) made a strong move today, +4.6% and touching an all-time high, after news of its addition to the S&P 500 effective after the close today.
- The company is joining the index's home entertainment software sub-index.
- Shares hit an intraday all-time high of $30.00 before settling back to $29.22. After hours, the shares are up 0.2% to $29.28; their highest closing price was $29.30, on Aug. 17.
- “Joining the S&P 500 is a reflection of our talented teams’ passion, hard work and commitment to excellence," said CEO Bobby Kotick.
- Shares are up 13.7% this month, including its solid Q2 earnings beat, and up 45% YTD.
Fri, Aug. 28, 9:17 AM
Thu, Aug. 27, 5:39 PM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) will replace Pall Corp. (NYSE:PLL), and United Continental (NYSE:UAL) will replace Hospira (NYSE:HSP) in the S&P 500 after the close of trading on Aug. 28 and Sept. 2, respectively.
- S&P 500 member Danaher is acquiring Pall, and Hospira is being acquired by Pfizer.
- ATVI +6.3%, UAL +6.8% AH.
Thu, Aug. 27, 5:39 PM
Wed, Aug. 5, 11:33 AM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is up 12.9% -- and hitting its all-time high, at $29.01 -- amid a blizzard of price target hikes from analysts after it posted record Q2 revenues and raised its 2015 guidance.
- Mizuho, Jefferies Group and MKM Partners all raised their price targets, to $31, $32 and $33 respectively. That's an upside of 6.9% to 13.8% from today's already-boosted price, depending on whom you're asking.
- The company is taking its key titles to Gamescom 2015 in Cologne, Germany, which opens to press today and to consumers tomorrow. Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Destiny: The Taken King and Guitar Hero Live will be playable at the company's booth.
- Previously: Activision Blizzard up 7.1% after beat, raised outlook (Aug. 04 2015)
- Related: Activision Blizzard (ATVI) Robert A. Kotick on Q2 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript (Aug. 04 2015)
Wed, Aug. 5, 9:19 AM
- Gainers: FNJN +60%. BIOC +13%. FSLR +11%. KATE +9%. Z +9%. HRB +8%. OAS +8%. TSEM +8%. PCLN +7%. SLTD +7%. MSI +6%. ATVI +6%. SUPN +6%. LC +6%. CTSH +6%. BBL +6%. SDRL +5%.
- Losers: SALE -33%. OHGI -28%. LL -24%. BOOT -23%. ETSY -20%. TRMB -13%. GLUU -10%. RSO -10%. DIS -9%. NYMT -7%. MEMP -7%. GNW -7%. PWR -7%. CERN -6%. PZZA -6%.
Tue, Aug. 4, 4:26 PM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is up 7.1% after hours following a solid beat, with record Q2 revenues, and raised its outlook for the rest of 2015.
- Digital revenues hit a record in GAAP and non-GAAP terms. Monthly active users were up 35% Y/Y, and time spent playing the games was up 25%.
- Revenue breakout (GAAP): Product sales, $528M (down 10%); Subscription, licensing and other, $516M (up 34.7%).
- The company's guiding to Q3 revenues (non-GAAP) of $930M, ahead of analyst expectations for $866M and EPS of $0.14, in line. It's also boosting its calendar-year 2015 outlook: on revenues, to $4.6B from $4.425B, and EPS of $1.30, up from $1.20.
- It said Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm and Destiny now have more than 70M registered players combined and more than $1.25B in non-GAAP revenues to date.
- Conference call to come at 4:30 p.m. ET.
- Press release
Activision Blizzard Inc is an online, personal computer, video game console, tablet, handheld, and mobile game publisher. It has three operating segments: - Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Activision Blizzard Distribution.
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