Electronic Arts (EA - Free Report) reported third-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings of $1.18 per share, which increased 37.2% year over year and comfortably beat management’s guidance by 26 cents.
Revenues rose 23.6% year over year to $1.59 billion. Product revenues (44% of total revenues) were up 27% to $701 million. Service and other revenues (56% of total revenues) grew 21% to $892 million.
Excluding the change in deferred revenues of $428 million and mobile platform fees of $43 million, net bookings improved 22.9% year over year to $1.98 billion.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings and revenues were pegged at $2.52 per share and $1.96 billion, respectively.
Digital net bookings were $1.44 billion, increasing 20% year over year and representing 77% of total net bookings.
EA’s digital revenues (70.6% of total revenues) grew 23.8% year over year to $1.12 billion. Packaged goods and other segment revenues (29.4% of total revenues) were up 23.1% year over year to $469 million.
Further segregating digital revenues, full game download revenues increased 16% year over year to $286 million. Net bookings increased 16% year over year to $317 million.
Live services revenues rose 41% year over year to $677 million. Net bookings improved 27% year over year to $993 million, driven by Apex Legends, FIFA and Madden NFL Ultimate Teams (double-digit growth), and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. FIFA Online performed well in Asia.
However, mobile games revenues decreased 11% year over year to $161 million. Including IP licensing deals, mobile revenues grew year over year at constant currency (cc). Net bookings declined 6% year over year to $134 million.
Based on its platforms, revenues from console increased 31% year over year to $1.16 billion. Net bookings from console rose 25% year over year to $1.05 billion.
Revenues from PC/browser were up 18% year over year to $257 million. Net bookings from PC/browser improved 21% year over year to $258 million.
However, revenues from mobile platform dropped 7% year over year to $169 million. Net bookings from mobile were down 6% year over year to $134 million.
Other revenues plunged 33% year over year to $4 million.
Important Game & Player Metrics
EA launched three games in the reported quarter — Need for Speed Heat, Plants Versus Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Sales of Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order surpassed EA’s fiscal year unit sales expectations of $6-8 million, the higher end of which was hit by the game in the third quarter itself. EA now anticipates selling more than 10 million units in the fiscal.
Moreover, Madden NFL 20 is delivering the best performance in Madden’s more than 30-year history.
Further, FIFA grew year over year in the third quarter. The addition of VOLTA Football to FIFA 20 and the updates to FIFA Ultimate Team have boosted player engagement, with FUT matches up nearly 40% year over year since launch through the reported quarter.
Notably, FIFA 20 is also the #1 most-engaged title in EA’s subscription services. The company is set to launch South American club tournaments, CONMEBOL Libertadores and CONMEBOL Sudamericana as well as the eLibertadores — a new expansion to FIFA 20 Global Series esports competitions.
Additionally, The Sims 4 now has more than 20 million unique players worldwide on a life-to-date basis.
EA’s GAAP gross profit increased 23.9% from the year-ago quarter to $1.09 billion. Gross margin expanded 20 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis to 68.1%.
Operating expenses rose 14.2% from the year-ago quarter to $724 million. As a percentage of revenues, operating expenses contracted 370 bps to 45.4%.
As a percentage of revenues, marketing & sales (M&S) shrank 180 bps. Research & development (R&D) and general & administrative (G&A) expenses also contracted 150 bps and 30 bps, respectively.
Operating income on a GAAP basis surged 49.2% year over year to $361 million. Operating margin expanded 390 bps to 22.7% in the reported quarter.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
As of Dec 31, 2019, EA had $5.60 billion in cash and short-term investments compared with $4.88 billion as of Sep 30.
Net cash from operating activities in the reported quarter was $$1.10 billion compared with $37 million in the previous quarter.
EA repurchased 3.1 million shares for $305 million in the reported quarter. The company has $674 million available under its current program.
For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, EA expects GAAP revenues of $1.325 billion. Net bookings are expected to be $1.152 billion.
EA anticipates operating expenses of $724 million. GAAP earnings are expected to be $1.05 per share.
For fiscal 2020, EA expects GAAP revenues of $5.475 billion (up from the previous guidance of $5.410 billion) and net bookings of $5.150 billion (up from the previous guidance of $5.125 billion).
Digital net revenues are expected to be $4.255 billion. Packaged goods & other net revenues are anticipated to be $1.220 billion.
Moreover, EA anticipates operating expenses of $2.730 billion for the fiscal.
Additionally, earnings are expected to be $9.90 per share.
Operating cash flow is estimated to be $1.725 billion.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
EA currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader consumer discretionary sector include TEGNA (TGNA - Free Report) , Fox Corporation (FOXA - Free Report) and Disney (DIS - Free Report) . While TEGNA sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both Fox and Disney have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
While TEGNA is set to report on Feb 11, both Fox and Disney are scheduled to report quarterly results on Feb 4.
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