(Adds details, shares)
May 9 Video-game publisher Electronic Arts Inc's
adjusted quarterly profit handily beat analysts'
estimates, lifted by demand for high-margin digital downloads of
its games such as "Battlefield 1".
The results pushed up the company's shares nearly 4 percent
to $99.70 in after-market trading on Tuesday, putting them on
track to open at a record high.
EA also forecast current-quarter adjusted profit above
analysts' average estimates and said it would buy back up to
$1.2 billion of shares over a two-year period.
Sales from EA's digital business surged 30.6 percent to $934
million in the fourth quarter ended March 31, as players
increasingly buy games online rather than physical copies at
However, EA's profit fell to $566 million, or $1.81 per
share, in the quarter, from $899 million, or $2.79 per share, a
The year-earlier quarter included an income tax credit of
Excluding items, EA reported a profit of 85 cents per share,
handily beating the average analysts' estimate of 75 cents,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company's revenue rose 16.7 percent to $1.53 billion in
However, on an adjusted basis, revenue of $1.09 billion was
in line with analysts' expectation.
EA released its action role-playing videogame "Mass Effect:
Andromeda" toward the end of its fourth quarter, with the game
hitting No. 3 on market research firm NPD's March list for
top-selling games in the United States.
The company said it ended up deferring about $53 million in
"Mass Effect: Andromeda" sales from the fourth quarter into the
first quarter, because of deluxe editions of the game, which
triggered a revenue deferral.
"We didn't anticipate that," Chief Financial Officer Blake
Jorgensen told Reuters.
Videogame companies are required to defer some revenue from
certain online-enabled games following a tweak to the U.S.
"Battlefield 1", launched in October, was at No. 12 on the
NPD list, which takes into account both digital downloads and
The company forecast first-quarter adjusted profit of 25
cents per share, above analysts' average estimate of 19 cents.
EA said it expected adjusted revenue of $750 million,
slightly below expectations of $758.7 million.
Last week, a Citigroup note named EA and its rivals,
Activision Blizzard and Take Two Interactive,
as potential targets for a buyout by Apple Inc.
(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by