Electronic Arts Hits Profit Target, Tightens Outlook

Electronic Arts reported fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings of $90 million, or 90 cents a share. The performance was in line with the mean estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

The Electronic Arts headquarters in Redwood City, California.
Paul Sakuma
The Electronic Arts headquarters in Redwood City, California.

Revenue rose 17% in the latest three months to $1.5 billion from $1.28 billion in the same period a year earlier. Wall Street's consensus estimate was for revenue of $1.74 billion in the December period.

The Redwood City, Calif., maker of video games said sales were driven the "Need for Speed," "Pro Street," "FIFA 08," "Rock Band," "The Simpsons Game," "Madden NFL 08," "The Sims 2 Castaway" and "NBA LIVE 08" titles.

"This was a record revenue quarter for EA and the single biggest revenue quarter for any third party publisher in our industry," said John Riccitiello, the company's chief executive officer. "While we are disappointed that two titles slipped out of the March quarter, Burnout Paradise is off to a terrific start and we are looking forward to the upcoming launches of Army of Two and FIFA Street 3."

For the fourth quarter, the company said it expects between a loss of 3 cents a share and earnings of 2 cents a share on an adjusted basis with revenue ranging from $925 million to $1.05 billion.

Excluding the impact of a change in deferred net revenue related to packaged goods and digital content, the company sees revenue of between $775 million and $850 million for the quarter.

Wall Street's current consensus estimate is for earnings of 17 cents a share in the March period on revenue of $837.7 million.

For fiscal 2008, it now sees adjusted earnings of 93 to 98 cents a share. This view compares to a prior projection for a profit of 85 cents to $1.15 a share for the year.

The stock closed Thursday's session at $47.37 and was off more than 4 percent to $45.40 in afterhours action.