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solzberg in Gainers & Losers,

Activision Blizzard's stock set to continue growth

Video game giant Activision Blizzard recently posted solid financials for the second quarter of 2016. Non-GAAP revenues increased 54.1% y-o-y to $1.609 bn beating consensus estimate of $1.496 bn. The improvement was driven by the overwhelming success of Overwatch, with over 15 mn users since its release on May 24, the buyout of King Digital Entertainment, increasing digital revenues and continued strength in the Call of Duty title. Activision had over 491 mn MAUs at quarter end, and its online player community MAUs grew 11% y-o-y to 49 mn. King Digital reported a decline in MAUs to 409 mn due to seasonality and the absence of any big releases. Adjusted operating income was $588 mn compared with $173 mn in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 40 cents surpassing analysts’ average projection by 3 cents.

Activision exited the quarter with $2.27 bn in cash and cash equivalents and long-term debt of $4.98 bn. In Q2, the company generated operating cash flow of $479 mn and paid $195 mn as dividends. Activision also raised its guidance for the year and now expects non-GAAP earnings of $1.83 per share on revenues of $6.40 bn.

The company’s strong pipeline of new games, I believe, will keep investors interested in the stock going forward. It will release an expansion pack for Destiny in Sep 2016 and will launch the full game sequel in 2017. Last week, it launched “Summer Games content” for Overwatch. Moreover, Activision will release the much awaited expansion for World of Warcraft, Legion, on Aug 30. It also launched the third of four map packs for Call of Duty: Black Ops III in July this year. King Digital also plans to launch a non-Candy Crush franchise toward the end of the year.

Of late, Activision has been making giant strides in its attempts to become a broad-based media company. Apart from launching a movie studio, the company is also strengthening its presence in the lucrative e-sports market. Last holidays, it hosted a 3-day Call of Duty World League event in Orlando with $100,000 prize money.

Activision’s shares, in my opinion, are well positioned to continue growth, with medium-term target at $45.