Latest earnings report sends shares soaring in after hours trading

EA stock at highest since 2008

After hours trading has sent EA’s market price soaring after the company revealed its Q1 financial report.

The publisher’s report showed it was cutting costs and making big strides forward in digital sales, especially on mobile, and announced a new deal with TenCent that would bring FIFA Online 3 to Chinese customers.

At the time of writing, EA shares have risen $1.57 since they closed at $23.83 – a gain of 6.5 per cent.

This brings the current price to $25.40, which is the highest it’s been since 2008.

Though investors are clearly happy, some commentators aren’t so sure it’s time to jump on board.

“There is no reason to trust that EA-owned casual game developers PopCap or Chillingo will bring the company into the mobile promised land that their outrageous P/E predicts,” writes Robert Mariani (via Forbes).

Mariani points the oft-maligned purchasing strategy as a reason EA might not be such a good bet.

“Consider EA’s management style when it comes to developers, a style notorious for the buying, the squandering and ultimately the retiring of respected video game developers,” he says.

“A high-profile example of this waste is with EA BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. A 200 million dollar massively-multiplayer game, it is the most expensive video game in history, and shortly after release lost so many subscribers that the game was forced to go free-to-play to retain players, not to mention the surge of layoffs the game caused.

“This is part of EA’s grand strategy; EA must stay liquid enough to buy companies and franchises that it thinks it can grow, and this is corroborated with a debt to equity of 24.66 per cent, notably higher than the industry average of 15.27 per cent.”

While past performance is certainly a concern, an argument could be made that an EA driven primarily by digital sales cannot be thought of in the same way as the retail-powered monolith it was in years past.

It may be that the company’s stock will have cooled somewhat by opening tomorrow, but for now it seems investors have given EA their vote of confidence.

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