Electronic Arts 4Q Beats Street

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) weighed in with better-than-anticipated fiscal fourth-quarter results and gave full-year 2012 guidance that was in-line with expectations, but the company forecast a worse-than-expected loss for the fiscal first quarter and revenue that was shy of estimates.

The video-game maker forecast a fiscal first quarter loss in the range of 44 to 49 cents, on revenue between $460 and $500 million, which compares to the Street’s forecast for a loss of 36 cents on revenue of $516 million. The company also said it expects fiscal 2012 earnings in the range of 70 to 90 cents per share, on revenue is between $3.75 and $3.95 billion, bracketing analyst forecasts for 85 cents a share on $3.94 billion.

In the fourth-quarter, the company posted a profit of $151 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with year-ago profit of $30 million, or 9 cents a share. On an adjusted basis, the maker of Madden video games reported earnings of 25 cents a share, up from last year’s earnings of 7 cents.

Revenue rose to $1.09 billion, and increased to $995 million on an adjusted basis, which compares with last year’s revenue of $850 million. Gross margin widened to 69.9% from 69.6%.

The results topped expectations, as analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of 22 cents a share on revenue of $923.88 million.

"We're happy to report another strong quarter, top and bottom line. We're particularly proud of the scale and growth rate of our digital business," said John Riccitiello, CEO, in a statement. "EA is building its digital business in a way only EA can, with key brands performing well cross-platform from mobile, to social to console."

Shares of Electronics Arts fell 1.2% on Wednesday, closing the day at $19.92 a share. The stock fell another 14 cents in after-hours trading.