Activision Blizzard Announces Better-Than-Expected Second Quarter 2012 Financial Results Company Had The Top Three Best-Selling Games in North America and Europe For First Six Months of 20121

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced better-than-expected financial results for the second quarter of 2012.


Second Quarter


(in millions, except EPS)

2012


Prior

Outlook*


2011

GAAP
 Net Revenues

$

1,075


$

950


$

1,146

 EPS

$

0.16


$

0.13


$

0.29

Non-GAAP
 Net Revenues

$

1,054


$

805


$

699

 EPS

$

0.20


$

0.10


$

0.10


*Prior outlook was provided by the company on May 9, 2012 in its earnings release

For the quarter ended June 30, 2012, Activision Blizzard's GAAP net revenues were $1.08 billion, as compared with $1.15 billion for the second quarter of 2011.  On a non-GAAP basis, the company's net revenues were $1.05 billion, as compared with $699 million for the second quarter of 2011.  For the second quarter, GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $343 million and represented 32% of the company's total revenues.  On a non-GAAP basis, net revenues from digital channels were a record $497 million and represented 47% of the company's total revenues. 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2012, Activision Blizzard's GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.16, as compared with $0.29 for the second quarter of 2011.  On a non-GAAP basis, the company's earnings per diluted share were $0.20, as compared with $0.10 for the second quarter of 2011. 

The company reports results on both a GAAP and a non-GAAP basis.  Please refer to the tables at the back of this press release for a reconciliation of the company's GAAP and non-GAAP results.

Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, said, "On a non-GAAP basis, we delivered record Q2 and first half net revenues, operating income and earnings.  Our performance was driven by strong audience demand for our great games.  We are very excited to have announced our expanded investment in China through Activision Publishing's agreement with Tencent to bring the Call of Duty® franchise to the Chinese market."

Kotick continued, "For the first six months, we had the top three best-selling games in North America and Europe with Activision Publishing's Skylanders Spyro's Adventures® and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® 3, and Blizzard Entertainment's record setting Diablo® III."

"For the remainder of the year, we are excited about our product slate which includes Activision Publishing's Skylanders Giants™ and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft®: Mists of Pandaria™.  While we are increasing our financial outlook for full year 2012, we remain cautious given economic uncertainty, risks to consumer spending especially during the holiday season and the recognition that the majority of our key franchise launches are still ahead of us," Kotick added.

Selected Business Highlights:

  • In North America and Europe, including accessory packs and figures, Activision Publishing's Skylanders Spyro's Adventure was the #1 best-selling console and hand-held game overall in dollars for the first six months of 2012.1  Additionally, Skylanders Spyro's Adventure was the #1 action-figure line in the U.S., outselling all other action-figure lines for the first six months of 2012.2
  • For the June quarter, Activision Blizzard was the #1 independent game publisher overall in North America and Europe.1
  • Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo III, released on May 15, 2012, set a new industry launch record for PC games and was the #1 best-selling PC game for the first six months of 2012. Through July, more than 10 million players have entered the world of Sanctuary.3
  • As of June 30, 2012, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG and had approximately 9.1 million subscribers4
  • Blizzard Entertainment announced that the company expects to release World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria on September 25, 2012.
  • On July 3, 2012, Activision Publishing and Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading Internet services provider in China, announced a strategic relationship to bring the Call of Duty franchise to Chinese game playersUnder the multi-year agreement with Activision Publishing, Tencent has the exclusive license to operate Activision's new Call of Duty game in mainland China.  The game will be  free-to-play and monetized through the sale of in-game items.
  • During the quarter, Activision Blizzard paid a cash dividend of $0.18 per common share, totaling $204 million, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 21, 2012.  This represented a 9% increase over the dividend that was paid in 2011.
  • During the quarter, Activision Blizzard purchased an aggregate of 4.4 million shares of its common stock for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $54 million.

Company Outlook
During the third quarter, Activision Publishing expects to release Transformers: Fall of Cybertron™ for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Sony's PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system and the PC.  Additionally, the company expects to release the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection #3, a compilation of content previously released to Call of Duty Elite premium members, on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, for Sony's PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system; and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection #4 on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Activision Publishing also expects to release Ice Age™ Continental Drift – Arctic Games in North America for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Sony's PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Wii™ system from Nintendo, the Nintendo 3DS™ and Nintendo DS™ hand-held system;  Wipeout  3 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Wii system from Nintendo and the Nintendo 3DS; and Angry Birds Trilogy for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Sony's PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, and the Nintendo 3DS.

Blizzard Entertainment expects to release World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria on September 25, 2012.

Based on better-than-expected second quarter results, the company is raising its calendar year net revenue and earnings per share outlook.

(in millions, except EPS)


GAAP Outlook


Prior*

GAAP Outlook


Non-GAAP Outlook


Prior*

Non-GAAP Outlook

CY 2012
  Net Revenues


$

4,330


$

4,200


$

4,630


$

4,530

  EPS


$

0.69


$

0.65


$

0.99


$

0.95

Q3 2012
  Net Revenues


$

740



 n/a


$

690



n/a

  EPS


$

0.06



 n/a


$

0.07



 n/a














* Prior outlook was provided by the company on May 9, 2012 in its earnings release

Conference Call
Today at 4:30 p.m. EDT, Activision Blizzard's management will host a conference call and Webcast to discuss the company's results for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 and management's outlook for the remainder of the calendar year. The company welcomes all members of the financial and media communities and other interested parties to visit the "Investor Relations" area of www.activisionblizzard.com to listen to the conference call via live Webcast or to listen to the call live by dialing into 888-282-4591 in the U.S. with passcode 4121658.

About Activision Blizzard
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is a worldwide online, PC, console, handheld and mobile game publisher with leading positions across the major categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry.

Activision Blizzard maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea and China.  More information about Activision Blizzard and its products can be found on the company's website, www.activisionblizzard.com.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures:  As a supplement to our financial measures presented in accordance with GAAP, Activision Blizzard presents certain non-GAAP measures of financial performance. These non-GAAP financial measures are not intended to be considered in isolation from, as a substitute for, or as more important than, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP.  In addition, these non-GAAP measures have limitations in that they do not reflect all of the items associated with the company's results of operations as determined in accordance with GAAP. 

Activision Blizzard provides net revenues, net income (loss), earnings (loss) per share and operating margin data and guidance both including (in accordance with GAAP) and excluding (non-GAAP) certain items. The non-GAAP financial measures exclude the following items, as applicable in any given reporting period:

  • the change in deferred net revenue and related cost of sales with respect to certain of the company's online-enabled games;
  • expenses related to stock-based compensation;
  • expenses related to restructuring;
  • the amortization of intangibles, and impairment of intangible assets and goodwill; and
  • the income tax adjustments associated with any of the above items.

In the future, Activision Blizzard may also consider whether other significant non-recurring items should also be excluded in calculating the non-GAAP financial measures used by the company.  Management believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures provides investors with additional useful information to measure Activision Blizzard's financial and operating performance.  In particular, the measures facilitate comparison of operating performance between periods and help investors to better understand the operating results of Activision Blizzard by excluding certain items that may not be indicative of the company's core business, operating results or future outlook.  Internally, management uses these non-GAAP financial measures in assessing the company's operating results, as well as in planning and forecasting.

Activision Blizzard's non-GAAP financial measures are not based on a comprehensive set of accounting rules or principles, and the terms non-GAAP net revenues, non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP earnings per share, and non-GAAP operating margin do not have a standardized meaning. Therefore, other companies may use the same or similarly named measures, but exclude different items, which may not provide investors a comparable view of Activision Blizzard's performance in relation to other companies.

Management compensates for the limitations resulting from the exclusion of these items by considering the impact of the items separately and by considering Activision Blizzard's GAAP, as well as non-GAAP, results and outlook, and by presenting the most comparable GAAP measures directly ahead of non-GAAP measures, and by providing a reconciliation that indicates and describes the adjustments made.

In addition to the reasons stated above, which are generally applicable to each of the items Activision Blizzard excludes from its non-GAAP financial measures, there are additional specific reasons why the company believes it is appropriate to exclude the change in deferred net revenue and related cost of sales with respect to certain of the company's online-enabled games.

Since Activision Blizzard has determined that some of our games' online functionality represents an essential component of gameplay and, as a result, a more-than-inconsequential separate deliverable, we recognize revenue attributed to these game titles over their estimated service periods, which may range from five months to a maximum of less than a year. The related cost of sales is deferred and recognized as the related revenues are recognized. Internally, management excludes the impact of this change in deferred net revenue and related cost of sales in its non-GAAP financial measures when evaluating the company's operating performance, when planning, forecasting and analyzing future periods, and when assessing the performance of its management team.

Management believes this is appropriate because doing so enables an analysis of performance based on the timing of actual transactions with our customers, which is consistent with the way the company is measured by investment analysts and industry data sources. In addition, excluding the change in deferred net revenue and the related cost of sales provides a much more timely indication of trends in our operating results.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements:  Information in this press release that involves Activision Blizzard's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements under the heading "Company Outlook," are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties.   

Activision Blizzard generally uses words such as "outlook," "will,"  "could," "should," "would," "might," "to be," "plans," "believes," "may," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "estimate," "future," "plan," "positioned," "potential," "project," "remain," "scheduled," "set to," "subject to," "upcoming" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements.  Factors that could cause Activision Blizzard's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include, but are not limited to, sales levels of Activision Blizzard's titles, increasing concentration of titles, shifts in consumer spending trends, the impact of the current macroeconomic environment and market conditions within the video game industry, Activision Blizzard's ability to predict consumer preferences, including interest in specific genres such as first-person action and massively multiplayer online games and preferences among competing hardware platforms, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the interactive game market, changing business models including digital delivery of content, competition, including from used games and other forms of entertainment, possible declines in software pricing, product returns and price protection, product delays, adoption rate and availability of new hardware (including peripherals) and related software, rapid changes in technology and industry standards, litigation risks and associated costs, protection of proprietary rights, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, customers, licensees, licensors, vendors, and third-party developers, including the ability to attract, retain and develop key personnel and developers that can create high quality "hit" titles, counterparty risks relating to customers, licensees, licensors and manufacturers, domestic and international economic, financial and political conditions and policies, foreign exchange rates and tax rates, and the identification of suitable future acquisition opportunities and potential challenges associated with geographic expansion, and the other  factors  identified in the risk factors section of Activision Blizzard's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and Activision Blizzard assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.  Although these forward-looking statements are believed to be true when made, they may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

1 According to The NPD Group, Chart-Track and GfK

According to The NPD Group

3 According to Activision Blizzard internal estimates and the NPD Group, Chart-Track and GfK

4 According to Activision Blizzard internal estimates