Activision encores earnings revision

Publisher again revises third-quarter and full-year fiscal projections upward on the success of best-selling franchises Guitar Hero and Call of Duty.


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Though only on the market for a few days, Activision's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock filled in four of the top 10 sales slots for October, according to industry-tracking NPD Group. With Guitar Hero III continuing to rock on at a frantic pace, the publisher scored the top sales slot in November as well with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The exceptional success of the two franchises has already led the publisher to revise its third-quarter and full fiscal-year forecasts upward once at the end of November. Today, the publisher has done so again.

Activision now expects to haul in $1.35 billion for its fiscal third quarter, which ends December 31. Previously, the publisher was expecting to bring in $1.22 billion, a figure that was itself revised from initial projections of $1.1 billion. Likewise, the publisher now projects full fiscal year 2008 revenues, which ends March 31, to hit $2.45 billion, up from $2.30 billion after its original revision and initial projection of $2.1 billion.

"Activision is the No. 1 US console and handheld publisher, according to the recently announced results from The NPD Group, for calendar 2007 through November," said Activision chairman and CEO Robert Kotick. "The company increased its market share for the 11-month period to a record 16.8 percent, a 7.9 percent increase over the same period last year. We continue to see strong audience excitement for our products and as a result we are again raising our financial outlook for the December quarter and the fiscal year."

Earlier this month, French media conglomerate Vivendi announced it would be purchasing a controlling stake in Activision for $18.9 billion. On completion of the deal, the merger will create the world's largest third-party publisher, with hit franchises such as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Starcraft all under one roof. The new operation will be relabeled Activision Blizzard, with the latter portion of the name derived from Vivendi subsidiary and World of Warcraft purveyors Blizzard Entertainment.

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