Activision Blizzard posts $72m Q4 loss

Activision Blizzard has posted a $72 million loss for its fourth quarter – but reported a combined yearly revenue of $5 billion.

Driven by strong sales of Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft games, the US company reported revenue of $1.6 billion for the quarter – the three months to December 31st, 2008 – whist adjusted revenue was $2.3 billion.

Total revenue reached $3 billion for the full year, but that figure didn’t include sales from Activision’s standalone business before its July merger with Vivendi Games, which would have added $1.3 billion in sales – for a combined $5 billion.

The quarterly loss was in part dragged down in part by charges from its combination with Vivendi Games.

Adjusted earnings for the quarter totalled $429 million, or 31 cents per share.

Activision expects a profit of eight cents per share on sales of $860 million for the current quarter. On an adjusted basis, the company forecast earnings of three cents per share on sales of $550 million.

But analysts have estimated a higher profit of 11 cents per share on sales of $963.9 million.

On its conference call, Activision forecast 2009 adjusted profit of 61 cents per share – below the 67 cents that Wall Street has estimated, on average. Projections for adjusted sales of $4.7 billion also fall below analysts’ $5.19 billion outlook.

The weak guidance sent shares down 28 cents, or 3 percent, to $9.20 in after-hours electronic trading, having closed the regular session down 14 cents at $9.48.

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