UPDATE 2-Electronic Arts limits first quarter-loss, stock soars
SAN FRANCISCO, July 23 (Reuters) - Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc said on Tuesday that a first quarter loss was narrower than Wall Street expected because strong cost controls and digital sales offset weak revenue from packaged games.
The shares of company, which usually has a light schedule in the first quarter for the release of its core console games, were up over 8 percent in after hours trading at $25.80 from the close of $23.83.
Adjusted revenue rose about 1 percent to $495 million from a year ago, exceeding Wall Street analysts' estimates of $453.8 million, according to Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S. It reported an adjusted loss of 40 cents per share compared with analysts' expectations of a loss of 60 cents per share.
Mobile games, online offerings and new sales streams accounted for more than 76 percent of first quarter revenue, Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen said in an interview. Aggressive management of operating expenses also helped.
"We still have a substantial amount of risk in the forward quarters as we lean into our biggest titles, but we're confident that our action plan for the year in going forward is starting to fall into place," Jorgensen said.
For the three months ended June 30, the company posted total revenue of $949 million compared with $955 million a year ago. It reported a net profit of $222 million, or 71 cents per share, compared with $201 million, or 63 cents per share a year ago.
EA's big 2014 release is "Battlefield 4," the new installment from its hugely popular franchise, which is expected to be released this fall.
The search for EA's next CEO is continuing after John Riccitiello stepped down as chief executive on March 30, taking responsibility for missed operational targets. Jorgensen said the company looking at external and internal candidates.