Activision issues record final earnings report

With publisher now folded into Vivendi Games' business combination, Guitar Hero maker crushes first-quarter outlook with $650 million in revenues.

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It isn't every day that one company reports on another company's financial performance. However, with Activision Blizzard popping into existence as the world's most lucrative third-party publisher last week, and the Guitar Hero house's first fiscal quarter coming to a close on June 30, that leaves time for just one more pre-merger financial report from Activision.

Unsurprisingly, Activision's stand-alone performance has been good--quite good. As reported by Activision Blizzard, Activision logged yet one more record performance in its first fiscal quarter, announcing anticipated revenues of $650 million. That tally is $150 million higher than its projected first-quarter performance of $500 million, announced in May. The fiscal performance translates to between $0.21 and $0.23 earnings per share, up from the $0.13 initially projected.

"Activision's first quarter stand-alone net revenues and earnings were the highest ever for a non-holiday quarter," said Activision Blizzard president and CEO Robert Kotick. "Our significant overperformance in Q1 would have further added to our previously given stand-alone fiscal 2009 net revenues and earnings outlook, making it by far the largest and most profitable year in Activision's history."

The same old song and dance drove Activision's first-quarter performance. The publisher noted that Guitar Hero: On Tour, released for Nintendo's DS on June 22, now resides atop Activision's record books as its biggest North American launch for the popular portable. The publisher achieved equal success with Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, which was released June 29. Activision noted that the game had sold well enough to rank in its top-five best multiplatform launches in North America. The final big performer for the publisher's first quarter was the multiplatform release of Kung Fu Panda, a Dreamworks-licensed property.

Today's report represents the final stand-alone fiscal results from Activision Inc., but Kotick notes that the combined businesses' outlook remains wreathed in gold. "We are extremely excited about the additional possibilities created by the completion of our combination with Vivendi Games last week and remain very optimistic about the long-term opportunities," he said. "Both Activision and Blizzard Entertainment's businesses have maintained their momentum and Activision Blizzard is well positioned to exceed the financial goals set for the combined company."

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