Fri, Feb. 6, 12:27 PM
- Off sharply yesterday after posting mixed Q4 results and offering soft Q1/2015 guidance, Activision (ATVI +1.4%) has erased its losses and then some today.
- Sell-side defenses of the game giant are helping its cause. Wedbush's Michael Pachter: "The company has historically been exceedingly conservative with its guidance, and over the last ten years, has consistently beaten the expectations it sets early in the year ... this year is no different."
- Pachter notes the guidance assumes no contribution from StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void or a still-unnamed title from Activision Publishing, only small contributions from Call of Duty Online and Heroes of the Storm, and flat Call of Duty and Skylanders revenue. He thinks there could be as much as $750M in upside to full-year guidance.
- Brean's Todd Mitchell observes forex and a higher tax rate contributed to the guidance. "While Activision is known for its conservative guidance, it seems exaggerated for 2015 in light of the potential for strong sell through of its major franchises, the positive feedback loop of scale for [downloadable content] including an alluded "mega" digital content offering for Destiny, and strong prospects for Blizzard's free-to-play title."
- In addition, Mitchell expects "the PS4/Xbox One console base to continue to outpace the prior-gen cycle throughout 2015, accelerating consumer preferences towards digital transactions and further consolidating the industry around blockbuster AAA franchises, a segment which Activision now dominates."
- On the CC (transcript), Activision Publishing chief Eric Hirshberg disclosed Destiny "now has over 16 million registered users with a massive audience of active players still averaging over 3 hours of game play per day." Blizzard chief Michael Morhaime mentioned Hearthstone now has over 25M registered users.
Thu, Feb. 5, 6:34 PM
- Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) expects Q1 revenue of $640M and EPS of $0.05, well below a consensus of $777.7M and $0.18. Full-year guidance (harder to project for a game developer) is for revenue of $4.4B and EPS of $1.15, below a consensus of $4.71B and $1.15.
- The board has authorized a new $750M buyback program. It lasts through Feb. 2017, and is good for repurchasing 5% of shares at current levels. Activision also plans to pay off a $250M term loan; the company had $4.3B in debt at the end of Q4, and $4.8B in cash.
- Thanks to the launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion pack, the World of Warcraft subscriber base was above 10M at the end of 2014, up from 7.4M at the end of Q3.
- The expansion pack drove a 98% Y/Y increase in online revenue to $398M. However, console revenue fell 15% to $1.22B, thanks to a 48% drop in prior-gen console revenue to $599M; next-gen console revenue more than doubled to $630M. PC game revenue rose 14% to $127M; mobile/other revenue fell 18% to $269M; and distribution revenue rose 6% to $190M.
- 31% and 46% of Q4 and full-year revenue respectively came from digital channels, up from 16% and 36% a year earlier. Q4 GAAP R&D spend fell 7% to $184M, and sales/marketing 3% to $247M.
- Shares have fallen to $20.05 AH.
- Q4 results, PR
Thu, Feb. 5, 4:22 PM| 4 Comments
Wed, Feb. 4, 5:35 PM
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Nov. 4, 2014, 4:42 PM
- Though it beat Q3 estimates, Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) is guiding for Q4 revenue of $2.2B and EPS of $0.86, below a consensus of $2.34B and $0.94.
- The World of Warcraft sub base rose by 600K Q/Q in Q3 to 7.4M, a reversal from Q2's 800K decline. Hearthstone registered users have topped 20M, and Destiny registered users 9.5M.
- 43% of revenue came from digital channels, 50% from retail channels, and 7% from distribution.
- 40% of revenue came from next-gen consoles, 24% of older consoles, 18% from online gaming/content, 8% from PC games, 7% from distribution, and 3% from mobile games and other sources. Online revenue rose 15% Y/Y to $209M; mobile/other revenue fell 36% to $35M.
- GAAP costs/expenses rose 20% Y/Y to $745M, thanks in part to a 53% increase in sales/marketing spend to $221M.
- Q3 results, PR
Nov. 4, 2014, 4:12 PM| 4 Comments
Nov. 3, 2014, 5:35 PM
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Aug. 5, 2014, 5:55 PM
- Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) expects Q3 revenue of $975M and EPS of $0.11 vs. a consensus of $893.3M and $0.13. Full-year guidance (a little harder to project) is for revenue of $4.7B and EPS of $1.29, slightly below a consensus of $4.71B and $1.31.
- Revenue from digital channels grew 26% Y/Y in Q2 to $481M, overshadowing a 41% drop in retail channel revenue to $111MM. Distribution channel revenue grew 78% to $66M.
- Console revenue fell 18% Y/Y to $201M, but PC revenue rose 201% to $131M (boosted by Diablo III). Online rose 4% to $201M. Mobile/other remains a soft spot, declining 34% to $59M; EA had $120M in calendar Q2 mobile revenue.
- The World of Warcraft sub base fell by 800K Q/Q to 6.8M; the decline was "disproportionately concentrated in the East." That could be a negative for Chinese WoW partner NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES).
- GAAP costs/expenses +6% to $660M. Activision notes Call of Duty: Ghosts remains the top-selling game on next-gen console in North America and Europe combined.
- Q2 results, PR
Aug. 5, 2014, 4:14 PM| Comment!
Aug. 4, 2014, 5:35 PM
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May. 6, 2014, 5:38 PM
- Activision (ATVI) has hiked its 2014 revenue guidance by $75M to $4.675B (consensus is at $4.65B), and its EPS guidance by a penny to $1.27 (consensus is already at $1.29).
- Digital channel revenue (68% of total) rose 23% Y/Y in Q1 to $527M; retail channel revenue fell 47% to $172M; distribution revenue rose 43% to $73M.
- Console revenue fell 40% Y/Y to $150M, but PC revenue rose 98% to $239M (strong Diablo III sales). Online revenue (inc. World of Warcraft and Call of Duty Elite) was flat at $227M, and mobile/other revenue fell 47% to $83M (lower Skylanders toy sales?).
- Asia-Pac sales soared 67% Y/Y to $105M, and helped drive the EPS beat. North America -22% to $330M, Europe +6% to $337M.
- The company lost 200K World of Warcraft subs; the base now stands at 7.6M. Diablo III was the top-selling PC title on a dollar basis in North America and Europe. R&D spend +14% to $143M, sales/marketing spend -3% to $104M.
- Shares have pared their gains: ATVI +1.5% AH. Q1 results, PR.
May. 6, 2014, 4:10 PM| Comment!
May. 5, 2014, 5:35 PM
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Feb. 7, 2014, 7:15 PM
- More than two decades have passed since Activision (ATVI +14.4%) last traded at current levels, as a Q4 beat, slight dividend hike, World of Warcraft subscriber growth, and game pipeline enthusiasm took precedence over below-consensus 2014 guidance.
- Rivals Electronic Arts (EA +2.8%) and Take-Two (TTWO +2.2%) joined in on the fun. Shares of both companies are roughly $1 removed from their respective 52-week highs.
- BofA/Merrill's Justin Post notes Activision has a history of issuing conservative full-year guidance to start the year, and considers the WoW sub growth a pleasant surprise.
- Wedbush's Michael Pachter is upbeat about a 2014 pipeline that includes updates to WoW and Diablo III, and the launch of anticipated open world first-person shooter Destiny. He thinks the game could produce $500M or more in sales following its September release.
- Activision stated on its CC (transcript) it thinks Destiny could be its third billion-dollar franchise (after Call of Duty and Skylanders), and that it's moving to a 3-year development cycle for Call of Duty titles (three studios take turns launching titles) to allow for better game development.
Feb. 6, 2014, 4:48 PM
- Activision's (ATVI) guidance is a little soft, but investors don't seem to mind. The game developer expects Q1 revenue of $675M and EPS of $0.09 (below a consensus of $679M and $0.11), and 2014 revenue of $4.6B and EPS of $1.26 (below a consensus of $4.6B and $0.09).
- The company has also announced it's hiking its dividend by a penny to $0.20/share (1.2% yield), and is repaying a $375M term loan.
- Also of note: World of Warcraft subs, declining in recent quarters, managed to rise by 200K in Q4 to 7.8M.
- Console-related sales fell 14% Y/Y in Q4, and made up 64% of revenue. Online subscription sales (9% of revenue, heavily tied to World of Warcraft) fell 27% and made up 9% of revenue; PC sales (5% of revenue) fell 4%, distribution sales (8% of revenue) rose 29%, and all other sales (inc. mobile and toys/accessories) fell 14%.
- North American sales (53% of total) -8% Y/Y, Europe (40% of total) -14%, Asia-Pac (7% of total) -34%.
- R&D spend -11% Y/Y to $197M. Sales/marketing +8% to $239M.
- ATVI +7.1% AH. CC underway. Q4 results, PR.
Feb. 6, 2014, 4:27 PM| Comment!
ATVI vs. ETF Alternatives
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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