Activision Blizzard answers 'Call of Duty' with big 4Q

Markets Associated Press

Activision Blizzard Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit climbed 60 percent to $254 million as more people embraced a video game line-up that includes "Call of Duty, "Candy Crush," and "World of Warcraft" during the holiday season.

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On a per-share basis, the Santa Monica, California-based company said Thursday that it had net income of 33 cents. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains, costs and deferred revenue, came to 92 cents per share.

The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 76 cents per share.

The video game maker posted revenue of $2.01 billion in the period, a 49 percent increase from the previous year. Its adjusted revenue was $2.45 billion, surpassing Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.27 billion.

For the current quarter, Activision Blizzard expects its adjusted per-share earnings to be 18 cents per share, including the impact of deferred revenue.

The company said it expects revenue, including the impact of deferrals, to be $1.05 billion for the first quarter.

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Activision Blizzard expects adjusted full-year earnings to be $1.85 per share on revenue of $6.3 billion, including deferrals.

The company's board also announced a 15 percent increase in Activision Blizzard's annual dividend to 30 cents per share and approved spending up to $1 billion buying back the company's stock during the next two years.

Activision Blizzard shares have increased 10 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock surged another $4.01, or 10 percent, to $43.74 in extended trading after the numbers came out.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on ATVI at https://www.zacks.com/ap/ATVI