Activision Blizzard's raises 2013 forecast, Q3 revenue beats Street

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Nov 6, 2013 5:27pm EST

Visitors look at a presentation at the ActiVision Blizzard exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Visitors look at a presentation at the ActiVision Blizzard exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne August 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc, known for its "Call of Duty" franchise, said it slightly raised its 2013 outlook driven by better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

But the company's stock dropped 2 percent in late trade from a close of $16.53 on the Nasdaq.

Activision, which closed a $8.2 billion deal last month to buy back most of its shares from French media conglomerate Vivendi, said on Wednesday that it expects GAAP earnings per share of 83 cents in 2013, compared to its previous forecast in the range of 80 cents to 82 cents.

It also raised its estimate for 2013 GAAP revenue to $4.32 billion from $4.31 billion.

"Our overall comfort with the market" before the launch of Sony Corp's PlayStation4 Microsoft' s Xbox One consoles in coming weeks moved the company to raise its 2013 forecast, Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said in an interview.

"We feel like even with all the volatility of the new console launches, we have a pretty good view into what's likely going to happen and we are confident about our business," Kotick said.

The Santa Monica, Los Angeles-based company said its revenue and income fell in the third quarter.

On a GAAP-basis, revenue dropped to $691 million from $841 million a year ago and net income also fell to 5 cents per share from 20 cents per share, in the year-ago period. But results surpassed Wall Street analysts expectations of revenue of $589.4 million and earnings per share of 3 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said non-GAAP revenue, adjusted for the deferral of digital revenue and other items, dropped 12.5 percent to $657 million from $751 million a year ago. It reported non-GAAP income of 8 cents per share, compared to 15 cents per share in the year-ago period.

Subscribers of its fantasy-action online game "World of Warcraft," a large source of steady subscription-based revenue, dropped slightly to 7.3 million in the third quarter from 7.7 million last quarter, the company said.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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