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Activision Blizzard beats Q2 financial expectations

Publisher reports net revenue of $1.038 billion and an EPS of 15 cents

Activision Blizzard has reported its financial results for the three months to the end of June this year, beating its own guidance and bringing in USD 1.038 billion in net revenue.

That was up on the USD 1 billion estimate the company gave at the start of the year, while the earnings per share was also up, from the guidance of 6 cents to 15 cents.

Comparisons with the same quarter in the previous year aren't viable, as the listed results given on the company's reports contain only Vivendi Games numbers prior to the merger with Activision on July 9 last year.

Profit totalled USD 195 million for the quarter.

"Since our merger one year ago, we have delivered better-than-expected financial performance for four consecutive quarters," said Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. "During a challenging economic climate, Activision Blizzard grew its quarterly North American and European market share 2.8 points across all platforms to 12.7 per cent from 9.9 per cent for the previous year and was the number one North American third-party console and handheld publisher for the quarter and first six months of the calendar year, according to the NPD Group, Chart-Track and Gfk.

"This fall, we will release our strongest videogame slate based on some of the industry's most successful franchises, including Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Guitar Hero 5, DJ Hero, Band Hero, Tony Hawk: RIDE and Bakugan Battle Brawlers. We are in a unique industry position to be able to invest in people, products and resources for the long term without compromising our short-term commitments of earnings growth and margin expansion.

"As we prepare for next year, we have moved the expected release dates for two games, Activision's Singularity and Blizzard's StarCraft II, into 2010. However, we are increasing our calendar year earnings-per-share GAAP outlook and reaffirming our calendar year earnings-per-share non-GAAP outlook and still expect to deliver record non-GAAP operating margins.

"Although there is a great deal of economic uncertainty in the global marketplace, we remain focused on the opportunities afforded by our industry and will continue exploring potential new markets and business models that should enable us to continue expanding our operating margins," he added.

With the delay of those two titles the full year revenue results have been adjusted down from USD 4.3 billion to USD 4.05 billion, although the diluted EPS is expected to rise from 24 cents to 26 cents.

Activision Blizzard's share price at close yesterday stood at USD 11.35, down 2.4 per cent for the day, although the impact of the financial results after the markets closed pushed that price up 4 cents to USD 11.59 in after hours activity.

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